SB policy development

SB policy development

A number of our members manage supported businesses. These pages will offer an update on the activity that BASE engages in to promote their work. Many receive DWP funding through the Protected Places scheme that has operated under the Work Choice programme. 


Setting the scene

Each Supported Business entered Work Choice, a DWP funded programme from the previous Workstep programme with an allocated volume of Protected Places. There was agreement for the funding of some unoccupied places on condition that at 26-weeks, if still unoccupied, they would return to the DWP for re-distribution to other Supported Businesses who could recruit and fill the places via Work Choice. 

Work Choice is now being closed down and will be replaced by the Work and Health Programme. In Scotland, Work First is the current bridging programme between Work Choice and the Scottish Government’s new provision ‘Fair Start Scotland’ which commences in April 2018.  Neither programme includes Supported Businesses and Protected Place funding. Prime contractors have recently been named for both programmes and details are in the BASE news pages.
In England and Wales, Module One Work Choice referrals are planned to cease in December 2017, Supported Businesses will only be able to employ this group on to a Protected Place. To note, a Module One Work Choice client is entitled to 6-months pre-employment support and there is an expectation that you will be able to recruit from this cohort during the support period, but numbers will reduce moving into March/April 2018 as clients secure employment and move off the provision.

Work Choice Supported Business Protected Place contracts are being extended to March 2019 across the UK (Scotland, England and Wales).  Access to Work could have a new steam of funding added for longer servicing Protected Place employees; assessments for those who want them will commence next year. 

BASE has been working with DWP and the Supported Business Alliance (SBA) through a Supported Business Steering Group to address issues of concern to Supported Businesses. BASE has established a Supported Business Focus Group to advise us. The group is chaired by Mel Walls and members include MTIB, Industrial Services Group, Pluss, Swindon Borough Council, GIS Healthcare, and County Print Finishers.


The Supported Business steering group

The group meets regularly and current membership is:

  • Jeremy Robinson (SBA and Clarity)
  • Richard Wellfoot (SBA and MTIB)
  • Melanie Walls (BASE)
  • Geoff Streetley (SBA and RBLi)
  • Gemma Hope (Shaw Trust)
  • Jenny Brick (SBA and Realise Futures)
  • Sarah Knights (Realise Futures)
  • Stuart Edwards (DWP Access to Work)
  • Avril Montgomery (DWP)
  • Martin Davies (Independent Advisor and meeting chair)



BASE and the SBA have been looking at the viability of supported businesses receiving direct referrals or being commissioned through Jobcentre Plus' Dynamic Procurement System to offer the following services:

  • Assessment placements
  • Work experience placements
  • Intermediate labour market

Any ongoing support is planned to be secured through Access to Work recognising the unique specialist support provided within Supported Businesses through a new category of funding.

This activity will allow Supported Businesses to be able to replace staff when they leave, by having a mechanism to provide another disabled client the opportunity of employment, as well as providing further opportunities when business grows. Consequently, Supported Businesses will be able to generate the required funds to continue to provide sustained employment opportunities for people with disabilities and health conditions and continue to be an integral part of DWP’s aim to halve the Disability Employment Gap.

Further updates will be posted.