Employment and Support Allowance assessment result wait time "unacceptable"

Official figures show that one in four disabled people have been made to wait an “unacceptable” length of time for the outcome of ESA claims to be decided. The Mirror reports that just 25% of ESA claims are being processed within the 13 week target, with some waiting for as long as over a year.

Nine out of ten jobs advertised on Universal Jobmatch placed by agencies, says report

New research carried out for London Voluntary Service Council shows that nine in every ten jobs advertised in London on Universal Jobmatch were placed there by job warehouses, CVlistings sites, and recruitment agencies.

A4e terminating 'Offender Learning and Skills Service' contract

The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) is looking for a general FE college to step in after a major private provider pulled out early from London’s £17m prison education contract, reports FE Week.

In the latest example of a college taking on prov

Iain Duncan Smith insists Universal Credit sign-off due ‘very shortly’

Iain Duncan Smith has insisted that HM Treasury is due to sign off the full business case for Universal Credit ‘very shortly’ despite it being five months since it was submitted.

Anne Angell announced as Head of Operations at Holt’s Academy

Following a successful career as Director of Operations for Kennedy Scott Ltd, Anne Angell has recently been appointed as Head of Operations for Holt’s Academy based in central London.

Further Education and skills provider outcome data published

The government has published employment and other 19+ learner outcomes for Further Education and skills providers, for the first time.

The data from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), for learners at all Skills Funding Agency-funded providers that completed in 2010/11, comes as part of a consultation on proposed new success measures from 2016/17.

The move to collect and monitor this data reflects a shift in how HE success is viewed, offering a way to capture success beyond qualifications.

AELP publishes briefing paper on DWP Commissioning Strategy

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has published a briefing paper on the new DWP Commissioning Strategy.

Benefit sanctions hit most vulnerable people the hardest, report says

Systematic problems in the way the government administers and imposes benefit sanctions, including disproportionate burdens on the most vulnerable, are revealed in a report commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The report found the way in which the DWP communicated with claimants was legalistic, unclear and confusing. The most vulnerable claimants were often left at a loss as to why benefits were stopped and frequently not informed by the DWP about hardship payments to which they were entitled, it said.

Wages fall as older people delay retirement, Bank of England suggests

The Bank of England has said that while the number of people in employment rose by almost 350,000 between March and April, average weekly earnings have fallen.

Officials said that wages may be falling because more people are working, including growing numbers of elderly people "concerned about the adequacy of retirement provisions".

They also suggested that the government's welfare reforms may mean that more longer-term unemployed people are coming onto the jobs market.

MPs heavily criticise Work Capability Assessments and call for an overhaul of disability benefits system

A “fundamental redesign” is needed of the disability benefits system, because flaws in the process are so “grave”, says a report published by the Work and Pensions Select Committee. The report argues that replacing Atos will not address the problems in the system, and urges ministers to take the withdrawal of Atos as an opportunity to fundamentally redesign Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Council tax rises hit Britain’s poor hardest

More than two million of the poorest people in England are facing rising council tax demands this year because of fresh government cuts to the benefit system, new figures have revealed. War widows, carers and the disabled are among 2.31 million people who used to be entitled to council tax benefit but have now had their support substantially reduced or taken away altogether.

As a result, significant numbers of families have been pushed into debt, with a survey revealing that nearly 16,000 people in London alone have been referred to the bailiffs for non-payment.

Youth Contract to be ended early

The coalition’s flagship programme to tackle youth unemployment is to be wound up early, amid claims that it has been an "abject failure". The £1bn youth contract wage incentive scheme was championed by Nick Clegg at the height of the recession as a way to help tackle youth unemployment. But with the jobs market rapidly improving and take-up of the programme falling substantially below projected levels, it is to be cut short next month.

Childcare provision is unsuitable for the modern labour market, finds research

Detailed analysis by Citizens Advice reveals that parents on low incomes or with unstable working hours are forced to rely on poorer quality childcare providers. The rise in self-employment and jobs with irregular hours means working parents will increasingly depend on flexible childcare. However the charity’s research shows those childcare providers most likely to offer variable hours have poorer Ofsted ratings and so will be of lower quality.

Health Management Ltd, a Maximus company, to deliver new Health and Work Service

Following a successful tendering exercise, Health Management Limited, a Maximus company has been appointed to deliver the new Health and Work Service in England and Wales. The Health and Work Service in Scotland will be delivered by the Scottish Government and will provide the same core service as delivered in England and Wales.

The Service will make health and work expertise and occupational health assessments more widely available to all GPs, employers and employees via: 

Apprentice growth in Greater Manchester dominated by older workers, study finds

Almost half of apprenticeships in Greater Manchester have been taken by adults in their thirties, forties and fifties – many of whom are likely to already be in jobs – rather than young people trying to get into work, a new study finds.

The report by New Economy – Greater Manchester’s economic think-tank and advisor on best policy practice – shows that adult apprentices over the age of 25 have grown from 2,472 in 2008/9 to 13,485 in 2012/13 (a rise of 446%).