Supported Business Update (August 2019)

Supported Business Update (August 2019)

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work

The Steering Group met with Justin Tomlinson in June. Many Supported Businesses will know Justin and It was reassuring to get confirmation of his understanding of and support for the Supported Business sector. As a business person himself he empathised with the challenges we face. He conveyed his commitment to a model that promotes progression within and out of the business and also wished to support the sector in having greater success in securing public sector orders and contracts. To this end the Steering Group is in discussion with the Commercial division of DWP to see how we can best access the multiple opportunities that exist.

It was great news that Justin continues in his role following such a tumultuous few weeks in British politics. 



The TESG Working Group has continued to meet and engage with DWP on the delivery and development of TESG.

We are pleased to report that a new simplified Claims form for TESG is available for August. Hopefully this will assist Businesses in submitting their monthly claims. It is concerning that to date only 30% of claims appear to have been submitted. If your Business is one of those not claiming could we please encourage you to do so. In the absence of claims DWP cannot monitor TESG numbers and it is important that we move to a stage where we are building up provision. Currently it is believed that 1,517 places are filled out of the potential 2,221. There have been 42 new starts since the introduction of TESG in April.

Should you be experiencing difficulty in submitting claims please contact Accesstowork.policyTESG@DWP.GOV.UK

Each Business should now have had contact with their JCP SPOC (single point of Contact). Referrals are now starting to flow through this pathway with 15 new starts and 8 others in process. Again, if you are having difficulties please let AtW policy know and copy in your contact on the SBSG.

DWP are to hold a number of telekits in August to update Businesses. When details of these are distributed the Steering Group would encourage all Businesses to take part.

The Steering Group is working with DWP to agree a new process for varying baseline TESG numbers. This is likely to take the form of a business case to apply for additional places. 

Finally, on TESG, work is progressing on a TESG progression support proposal. This will be a model which rewards Businesses for progressing people from TESG into open employment (supported by standard AtW). This will include people initially placed with ‘host’ employers. DWP and the Minister has confirmed their commitment to such a model. We are hopeful this will be finalised (including an adequately funded model) in Sept for roll out in the Autumn. If Businesses do not currently operate such a model SBSG would encourage them to do so. There are likely to be many Supported Employment providers willing to partner in such a programme.



Work continues to finalising the EESG Proof of Concept (PoC).

Following feedback from the Steering and Working Group and agreement of the Minister a new approach is being considered. The PoC will be phased to provide assurance for Supported Businesses and DWP that the funding model will deliver the following: -

  • Sustain and grow the sector
  • Provide value for money
  • Drive positive behaviours

There will be two phased approach.

  • Phase 1: a paper-based exercise of 10 existing businesses to develop an understanding and test funding models. Nov 19 to April 20
  • Phase2: testing the model with new customers for the 10 businesses and 5 new businesses. April 20 to April 21.

DWP are still eager to speak to Businesses wishing to take part in the PoC.

The Steering Group continues to work with DWP to ensure an appropriate funding model for the PoC. We are hopeful this will be signed off in September.


Growth of the Sector

The introduction of EESG will remove the baseline and cap of TESG. DWP see EESG as playing a large part in achieving their ambitions for disabled people facing the greatest barrier to work. As such they wish to grow the number and scale of businesses and enterprises who can provide this kind of support. 

DWP continue to explore what criteria they wish to apply to such businesses. Their current thinking is that businesses evidence:

  • Holistic in-work support is provided;
  • Commitment to supporting disabled people and people with health conditions to progress and develop; and
  • High levels of inclusion of disabled people and people with health conditions within the business. 

To be able to satisfy the criteria it is the likely the business will be one that has disability employment as part of its core purpose and as such sees itself as a social enterprise.

There is to be a Workshop on 20thAugust where DWP will seek to engage with the wider sector on these criteria. Martin Davies will be representing the Steering Group at this event.

The Steering Group believes the best way of ensuring the long-term future of Supported Businesses is for the sector to drive its own quality agenda. Otherwise there is a real risk of the growth agenda driving down standards and funding. 

Although many Businesses will be able to independently give assurance to DWP, this is not the case with all, and this assurance level may not be what you as a sector recognise as best practice. This is why the Steering Group would encourage Businesses to engage with SEDEM and LADEM to drive our own quality agenda.


Changes to the Steering Group

The long-standing members of the Steering Group have recently been joined by Pluss and Yateley Industries.

  • BASE
  • Clarity
  • County Print Finishers
  • Haven/Momentum
  • MTIB
  • Pluss
  • Realise Futures
  • SEM CiC
  • Shaw Trust
  • Watford Workshop
  • Yateley Industries


Supported Business Steering Group
August 2019