Supported Business policy development

Supported Business policy development

A number of our members manage supported businesses. This page offers an update on the activity that BASE engages in to promote their work. 

Each Supported Business that was contracted through Work Choice, a DWP funded programme, had an allocated volume of Protected Places which received funding of £4,800 per place. Work Choice referrals have now ceased and the programme being replaced by the Work and Health Programme in England and ‘Fair Start Scotland’ in Scotland. Neither of these programmes has a remit to fund protected places. 

Work Choice Supported Business Protected Place contracts finish in March 2019 and BASE has been working with DWP and the Supported Business Alliance (SBA) through a Supported Business Steering Group to address the ongoing funding of Supported Businesses.


Latest news

Policy update (April 2019)

Policy update (August 2019)

Policy update (October 2019)


The Supported Business steering group

The group meets regularly and current membership is:

  • Martin Davies (Independent Advisor and meeting chair)
  • Nigel Lewis (SBA and Clarity)
  • Richard Wellfoot (SBA and MTIB)
  • Melanie Walls (BASE)
  • Huw Davies (BASE)
  • Geoff Streetley (SBA and RBLi)
  • Gemma Hope (Shaw Trust)
  • Jenny Brick (SBA and Realise Futures)
  • Peter Keeley (Bradford ISG)
  • Will Garner (Oxfordshire CC)
  • Linda McIntyre (Watford Workshop)
  • Debbie Bradford (DWP Access to Work)
  • Avril Montgomery (DWP)
  • Hugh Pullinger (DWP)


Announcement of transitional arrangements

Following 18 months of discussions between the Steering Group and DWP, an announcement confirming transitional arrangements was made on 31 July 2018. BASE issued a statement in response to the announcement.

The principal points of the announcement are:

  • A commitment of the Government through Esther McVey, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Sarah Newton, the Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, to the provision of employment opportunities within Supported Businesses. This will manifest itself in a new payment strand of Access to Work in April 2021.
  • A 2-year transitional arrangement from April 2019 (the end of Work Choice support). This will be through a new Access to Work payment which will increase to £5,000 from the existing £4,800.
  • Businesses will be able to recruit new employees but funding will be restricted to the baseline numbers set in February 2018.


The announcement commits the Government to work with BASE and SBA to

  • Help develop a new quality mark for Supported Businesses
  • To develop a new long-term element of Access to Work to continue support for those already working for a supported business and to help more disabled people join them.


DWP are communicating these new arrangements to Supported Businesses through the Work Choice prime contractors.

The Support Business Steering Group has been working closely with DWP for nearly 18 months to find mechanisms to protect the employment of the thousands of disabled people working in Supported Businesses and to create an environment where the Supported Business sector may flourish to create even more opportunities. The Steering Group welcomes the announcement and will continue to work with DWP to clarify operational issues and work towards a long-term plan for the funding of Supported Businesses.