ALP Conference reporting

I'm reporting from the Association of Learning Providers 'Forum for Employment and Skills' event over the next two days. It's just about to start, but for now I'll put up the press releases.

Site upgrades - job alerts, discussion alerts, contracts database

Building on the new website software, some new features have now been enabled on the site:

FND Rumour Mill cranking up

This article is superseded by the official results

FND contracts have reached preferred bidder stage. The DWP has told the bidders who they're prefer to deliver in each area, and the likely primes are now negotiating with the DWP over the final contracts. However, the DWP have reinforced their usual secrecy with a Non-Disclosure Agreement for post-tender discussions, and primes appear once again to be banned from telling their subcontractors anything about what's going on.

DWP: 'The Code of Conduct (sort of) does not apply to Pathways to Work'

Speaking with a (former) Pathways subcontractor the other day, they related an interesting experience of dealing with the DWP. The subcontractor's legal contract with the prime required them to give 30 days notification to the DWP when terminating their subcontract. They gave notice to the DWP, and were told that their subcontract had no legal value with the DWP in any case.

Shaw Trust and Employment Opportunities merge

A merger has been confirmed between Shaw Trust and EOpps. Press release follows:

National employment charities, Shaw Trust and Employment Opportunities are to merge it was announced today. The merger will take effect from 1 May 2009.

The merger brings together almost 60 years of proven expertise in helping disabled and disadvantaged people find and keep a job. Both charities deliver employment programmes on behalf of the Government and see the merger as strengthening that capacity.

Tim Papé, Director General of Shaw Trust said:

Online welfare debates - starter for ten?

I'm putting together some web debates, with leading thinkers and do-ers in the welfare-to-work field discussing industry issues out in the open. However, while the participants will doubtless have their own favourite topics, I'd like to make sure they also respond to the interests of a wider audience.

Budget 2009 - impact on welfare-to-work

The following summary highlights the key impacts of the 2009 Budget on welfare-to-work delivery. For each section, I've included the relevant part of the actual Budget report, for reference. This report is still being edited and added to - check back later for more content

More money for delivery

Specialist Disability Employment Programme - Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) Events

from the DWP provider notices, under Crown copyright

Following the five PQQ events conducted from Tuesday 31st March to Wednesday 8th April, we are now able to share details as outlined at the events.

The questions and answers log is currently being finalised and will be published shortly. In the meantime a full delegate list for each event and copies of the event slides can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate links below:

Housekeeping - unverified email addresses being deleted

A lot of people who sign up for the site never get round to confirming their email address. We've decided to make this mandatory in future, as there have been quite a few spam sign-ups recently.

Basically this means that if we're not sure you're a real person with a real email address, we'll send you a verification email next Monday, then delete your profile if you don't respond within 24 hours.

Remploy not bidding for prime contractor on disability provisions

Remploy have responded to rumours that they wouldn't be bidding for the Specialist Disability Programme with the following statement:

Will Remploy deliver the new specialist disability service programme?

Yes - Remploy will deliver the new programme from October 2010.

Remploy are the largest provider of WORKSTEP, delivered through Grant in Aid (GIA) funding.

Indus Delta just got uglier and harder to read!

The back end of the website has been heavily upgraded over the past week, and in consequence the entire interface has been rebuilt from scratch. Don't be alarmed if it looks a bit different - it still has all the same functionality, and your information is entirely safe!

B3ta discussion on unemployment

The immensely popular, definitely not-safe-for-work b3ta website recently ran a Question of the Week asking people for their positive experiences of unemployment.

3-month 'delay' to DWP back-to-work schemes

[Posted by a site user]
Hello daniel,
I have just read in 2 newspapers today that the DWP have cancelled their new schemes for 3 months, obviously you are on your Easter break now, BUT, did you know that this press announcement was imminent, so many people have been spreading stories that this was going to happen, and quiet frankly but now I do not think that any one is surprised.

I think it has been suspended because so many new unemployment signers have overwhelmed the dept!

FND results not-so-due at end of April

The DWP have made an official announcement available here:

6 April 2009
Phase 1 Flexible New Deal - Progress Update

Radio show wants input from front-line provider staff

A radio researcher has been was in touch asking for help in finding provider delivery staff to contribute to a radio show going out this Sunday. Request follows: