Supported Business Update (November 2020)

Supported Business Update (November 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, the Supported Business Steering Group (SBSG) has maintained contact with DWP over the summer months and into the autumn to try and prepare for the difficulties that winter will undoubtedly bring.

The SBSG met with DWP on 6th October where we discussed and lobbied on:

  • The end of Job Retention Scheme (JRS) and the continued return to work of SB’s workforce. We looked at how best this can be achieved whilst protecting thousands of vulnerable people. We also looked at the financial implications of the end of the JRS funding and having flexibilities to bring people back on through a phased approach. We emphasised the need for a continuation of the type of support that has been available from the JRS and furlough process.
  • 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 Supported Businesses can link to new DWP initiatives such as Kickstart and CAEHRS (particularly tier 3)
  • A wider offer that will allow Supported Businesses to add value to the emerging new labour market.

The SBSG followed this meeting with a formal communication to Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work highlighting the issues.


The recent news of the extension of an amended JRS and Furlough process, until 31st March 2021 alleviates our concerns on the first point and is welcomed by the SBSG. We have been assured by DWP that TESG will remain claimable during this time for furloughed staff. Supported Businesses are advised to continue submitting claims in accordance with previous instructions.

The SBSG is scheduled to meet with DWP again in early December 2020 where we will revisit the remaining issues and continue 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 this month.


To assist in our discussions with DWP and Ministers we are currently seeking information from Supported Businesses on two issues.

  1. Current information about the commercial activity of each Supported Businesses. This will be used for promotional information targeted at public procurement bodies. Justin Tomlinson the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work has shown a particular interest in this and wishes to use it to personally endorse the work of Supported Businesses across Government. Supported Businesses are requested to return Appendix 2 of this document so that we can ensure the most current information is available for this exercise. Please only supply information that is publicly available and you are happy to share openly. All information will be retained and stored by BASE.

The SBSG is aware that a parallel exercise is being undertaken in Scotland for public procurement from Scottish bodies and that considerations are taking place for a provisional Common Framework for Public Procurement for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Where possible and appropriate SBSG will use returns to inform responses to these processes. 


  1. Your views on Tier 3 of CAEHRS and the Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS2).

You will be aware that DWP are undertaking a survey on these two issues and the SBSG would encourage all SBs to respond. The survey can be found on The SBSG would like to respond directly to the survey and is seeking your views. Supported Businesses are requested to return Appendix 1 in order for us to best represent the views of the sector.

Note. Tier 3 of CAEHRS is aimed at SMEs, VCSEs and specialist organisations for DWP/JCP contracts up to £2m.

Please return both appendices to by 17th November.


The SBSG would like to thank those businesses that have committed financial contributions to the running of the SBSG for this financial year. We currently have sufficient funding to take us to March 2021 when we will again be seeking your support for the final but most important part of the work as we move to securing permanent funding for Supported Businesses through EESG (or its equivalent).

Martin Davies
Chair Supported Business Steering Group