Government to update communications with benefit claimants on sanctions

The government is set to update the way it talks to benefit claimants, setting up a specialist team to look at all communications – including claimant letters – and working more closely with local authorities and advice centres to simplify the system.

Remploy beginning to seek private investment

Remploy Employment Services is now able to seek private investment enabling it to expand. By allowing Remploy to take on significant investment free from government control – as requested by the Remploy Board and as recommended by Liz Sayce in her recent review – they will have the freedom and flexibility to grow the business and help even more disabled people into jobs.

Beth Carruthers, Chief Executive of Remploy said:

New Jobcentre plus model proposed by thinktank Policy Exchange

DWP permanent secretary rejects Work Programme audit findings

Robert Devereux, permanent secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, has rejected the National Audit Office's conclusion that the Work Programme is no more effective than its predecessors.

The NAO report, called 'The Work Programme' and published on 2 July, said that the programme is “achieving similar levels of job outcomes to previous welfare-to-work programmes for Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants aged 25 and over.”

Beth Gardner succeeds Stephen Gardner as CEO of Fair Train

At the end of July 2014 Stephen Gardner will be standing down as CEO of Fair Train, to be succeeded by Beth Gardner (no relation!).

‘Flex appeal’: the benefits of flexible working explored in new report

Working on a temporary basis is part of many people’s career paths. More than one in three people (36%) in Great Britain have worked as a contractor, freelancer or agency worker at some point in their career, and 41% are considering working that way in the future, reports the REC.

UK jobcentres should face competition, says Policy Exchange

Jobcentres are failing to help about a third of their customers – mainly the long-term workless – and should be restructured to enable private companies and charities to compete with government providers, a report by the influential centre-right thinktank Policy Exchange has proposed.

Keep youngsters on job track, urges Wales Audit Office

Young people need to be kept on track in the search for jobs into their mid-twenties, a government auditor warns. A report into youngsters not in education, employment or training (NEET) said help for 19-24 year olds was not as good as for 16-18 year olds. The Wales Audit Office (WAO) urged the Welsh government to get the best value from £200m spent on NEETs in a year. Deputy skills minister Ken Skates said more work would be done to share best practice and track progress of schemes.

Young black men want to be judged on merit not stereotypes, says research

Research published by the Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG) reveals the views of 200 young black men about their experiences of finding work in the capital.

Young black men have a higher unemployment rate than any other group of young people and the research shows that they have mixed but mainly poor experiences of support from Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme providers. They also feel isolated from their peers and unsupported in their efforts to ‘do the right thing’.

Thurrock Council joins forces with Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme providers to tackle unemployment

Thurrock Council is joining forces with Jobcentre Plus and two Work Programme providers to tackle unemployment. The agreement will particularly focus on people who find it most difficult to get work. The plans aim to equip local people with the skills and confidence to fill thousands of new jobs planned for Thurrock by 2021.

Welfare reforms leaving many in Wales struggling to cope, warns Citizens Advice Cymru

‘One Day at a Time’, a new report launched by Citizens Advice Cymru, highlights that many of the most vulnerable in Wales are being forced into hardship due to the biggest changes to the welfare system in over sixty years. The report is based on evidence from across the Citizens Advice Bureaux network in Wales as well as bespoke qualitative research commissioned by Citizens Advice Cymru to explore the ‘lived experience’ of the recent benefit changes.

Treasury has not signed off on universal credit, MPs told

The Treasury has still not signed off on the government's troubled universal credit benefits reform, Sir Bob Kerslake, the head of the civil service, has revealed. He made the admission that the project was being drip-fed money by the Treasury after Margaret Hodge, the chair of the Commons public accounts committee, repeatedly pressed senior civil servants about its financial status.

CIPD 'Manifesto for Work' calls for shift in employment policy

With the general election less than a year away, the CIPD has published a ‘Manifesto for Work’ to urge politicians to focus on new ways to future proof UK employment. In its proposal, the CIPD said that policy makers will need to tackle fundamental skills and productivity issues or risk letting the country fall behind its overseas competitors.

Converting Conversations into Actions – “No complacency: No more NEETs”

The 2014 Youth Employment Convention sought to put young people at the heart of next year’s general election. The legacy report, sponsored by Shaw Trust, is comprised of 25 short essays from contributors to the convention, all experts in their field. It describes why youth unemployment remains a systemic issue despite an improving economy and makes the case for policy changes that will support the skills and employment needs of our most valuable national asset – our young people. It is hoped that that the report and the contributor’s recommendations will influence the manifestos of all the major political parties.

'Flawed' Work Programme contracts costing millions, say government auditors

Tens of millions of pounds is being paid in bonuses to under-performing contractors responsible for the Government's flagship back-to-work scheme, government auditors have warned.

Flaws in contracts mean the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has to pay incentives for the Work Programme to even the worst performing providers, the National Audit Office (NAO) said.