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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2010): Social security - UK - New Deal

Building bridges to work: new approaches to tackling long-term worklessness

Department for Work and Pensions

London: TSO, 2010 (Cm 7817)

The paper outlines the former government's next steps on welfare reform. It sets out reforms to help the long-term workless back into work and support disabled people and those with health conditions who are at risk of long-term unemployment and worklessness to make sure no one gets left behind in the recovery. The key elements of this package are:

  • improving the accuracy of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), giving appropriate consideration to people's ability to adapt to their disability, as well as ensuring better recognition of mental health and fluctuating conditions
  • assessing everyone on incapacity benefits over the next three years through the WCA, culminating in the abolition of incapacity benefits in April 2014
  • providing extra support for people who are newly assessed as fit for work but may have spent a number of years on an incapacity benefit
  • providing a personalised time-limited WCA reassessment and an individual programme of support with conditions for those who are currently unable to work but maybe able to in the future
  • guaranteeing employment or work placements for jobseekers who do not find work after two years
  • guaranteeing a place on the specialist disability employment programme, Work Choice, for those on Employment and Support Allowance who want to work but do not find a job after two years.

Management and administration of contracted employment programmes

Work and Pensions Committee

London: TSO, 2010 (House of Commons papers, session 2009/10; HC 101)

This report examines contracted employment programmes and focuses in particular on the prevention of fraud, the treatment of subcontractors, and ensuring fair treatment of customers. The Committee found that levels of detected fraud in contracted employment programmes are low, but feels that there is no room for complacency; the frauds uncovered to date have highlighted the existence of weaknesses in the system which could be exploited. Processes for the detection of fraud must be rigorous and robust. In addition, the financial penalties for providers who have fraud in their organisation are not severe enough. The report calls for customer rights to be given a much higher priority, and for a universal, monitored, and enforceable customer charter to be introduced. It also calls on the Department to carry out a 'Customer Survey' of customers of contracted employment programmes to enable standards of customer service to be compared between providers and with Jobcentre Plus. The quality of provision to vulnerable groups, particularly those with disabilities, is another area of concern as providers are having to work with customers with more severe barriers to employment than they had anticipated.

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