Supported Business Steering Group update (September 2020)

Supported Business Steering Group update (September 2020)

The summer of 2020 has been one of the most difficult for Supported Businesses in recent history. Unfortunately, there are few signs that the challenges will diminish in the near future.

Having secured the continued payment of TESG for furloughed staff earlier in the summer, SBSG has maintained contact with DWP over the summer months to try and prepare for the difficulties that Autumn will undoubtedly bring.

SBSG are scheduled to meet with DWP on 6th October where we will be discussing, lobbying and hopefully finding solutions for:

  • The end of Job Retention Scheme (JRS) and the continued return to work of SB’s workforce. We have looked at how best this can be achieved whilst protecting thousands of vulnerable people. We are looking at the financial implications of the end of the JRS funding and having flexibilities to bring people back on through a phased approach.
  • An extension to TESG funding which is due to end in April 2021.
  • A realistic timeline and process for the next stage of EESG Proof of Concept which aims to set new funding mechanisms and levels.
  • How SBs can link to new DWP initiatives such as Kickstart and CAEHRS (particularly tier 3)
  • A wider offer that will allow SBs to add value to the emerging new labour market.


SBSG continues to lobby for confirmation that TESG funding will continue post April 2021. We have been assured that TESG funding is included within the 2021/22 Access to Work budget which is being considered within this year’s Spending Review, but that this cannot be confirmed until it is formally signed off in November.

In our discussion with DWP it would be helpful to have a fuller picture of how Supported Businesses have been able to or are planning to get people back to work.

We are requesting that all Supported Businesses email the following information by 2nd October:

  • % of employees currently returned to work.
  • % of employees you plan to have back by the end of November 2020
  • Timelines, when do you expect all employees back to work a) in part b) in full?
  • Flexibilities you have had to, or intending using to get people back e.g. reduced working hours, staggered working days.
  • Would you be able to return more people to work by reducing their working hours, if so, what does the minimum number of hours per week look like to welcome all employees back across your business?
  • Are there particular issues that prevent a return to work i.e. following social distancing rules?
  • Are there particular groups of employees that you are unable to get back to work and why?
  • Have you experienced a local lockdown? If so, what has this meant, what are the challenges and what have you done differently to ensure disabled employees are able to continue working?
  • Are you currently considering reducing your workforce?
  • Is your Business ‘at risk’ due to Covid?

This information would be extremely useful in informing our discussions and your collaboration would be warmly welcomed. Many thanks.


The Chair of the SBSG has written personally to the Managers of each Supported Business requesting they consider providing financial support for the work of the SBSG.

Unfortunately, very few SBs have responded and only three have provided financial support. This has necessitated some of the members of the SBSG to once again make additional contributions. This should allow the SBSG to continue until December. The reality is that without others making a contribution it is likely that the SBSG will not be able to function in its current form into 2021. SBSG would like to make a final plea for SBs to respond in a positive manner to the request for a financial contribution. Please respond to Huw Davies at BASE or Martin Davies if you are able to assist.  Without further funding the Steering Group will not be able to lobby on your behalf. To deliver a sustainable funding model for the sector you need the Steering Group and the Steering Group needs your financial support.