Flexible New Deal - key points

Flexible New Deal will be operating across half the country from October 2009. These are the key points from the contract specifications:


  • Flexible New Deal (FND) was designed to replace ND25+, NDYP, ND50+, ND Musicians, PSL New Deals, EZs, and appears to replace ND Self Employment as well. NDDP has just been recontracted and will function separately, as will ND Lone Parents.
  • Phase 1 areas are due to go live in October 2009, with phase 2 delivering from October 2010.
  • The initial FND design is being modified on the fly by the Labour government's introduction of new, large-scale initiatives, which will essentially remove all people under 25 from FND delivery and place them into schemes that look like a mix of New Deal options and the subsidised 'jobs' of the 80s employment programmes
  • The Conservatives do not appear to be in favour of many of the government's changes to FND, including the introduction of new contract types. Until they have clarified their plans, all FND-related tendering between now and the next general election may not lead to actual contracts
  • All but three areas will operate under Customer Choice. This will help prevent the regional monopoly issue that has been raised as an objection to large-scale contracting. However, it doubles the overheads and will make delivery more expensive in these areas.
  • Flexible New Deal may be partly ESF-funded, and is thus not clean for match funding.
  • Payment model - The original payment split (20% service fee, 50% for 13 weeks sustained employment, 30% for 26 weeks sustained employment) has been shifted to 40% service fee, 60% split between the sustained employment outcomes. This will apparently be changed back to the original model after the first two years of delivery.


  • Flexible New Deal entry is at one year, or 6 months for fast track customers. According to reports, many people dropping out of existing New Deal delivery through absence or other causes are going straight into the JCP-led FND stages
  • FND lasts for one year, with an optional half-year extension if agreed with the customer.
  • Providers will own action planning throughout FND, all of which will be mandatory and backed by Jobcentre sanctions once agreed. Jobcentre delivery will essentially be limited to signing on fortnightly and co-ordinating some aspects of childcare.
  • The actual delivery content is open. At least 4 weeks of full time work or placement must be undertaken during the year. However, all the FTET, VSO, BET, GtW stuff is no longer required.
  • Whatever content is delivered, must play nicely with the agency that replaces LSCs, and with City Strategies, Local Employment Partnerships and the like. Providers are responsible for paying travel, childcare, food etc. but benefits will still be paid by the Jobcentre as they handle signing on.
  • Referrals and other data will be handled under PRaP, a new electronic system that replaces the paper-based SL2s and nominal rolls that have had thousands of administrators squinting at unreadable faxes and five-part forms for the last decade.


  • Given that the smallest possible contract value was £5m per annum for five years before the recession, providers with turnover less than £10m seem distinctly unlikely to meet the capacity requirements to become a prime contractor. See the separate (and somewhat outdated) analysis of cashflow and welfare-to-work provision.
  • The DWP guaranteed that no DWP staff would be transferred to providers through TUPE. TUPE between New Deal providers and FND contractors has been generally accepted by all concerned. More info on TUPE

Further information

Update 3/7/09 - This section has been updated to reflect changes to FND since the process originally started


Note - discussions from this article were moved to the Discussions section on 13/1/09 as part of general tidying.

when does the JRFND stage 3 start in the west midlands

Do you mean stage 3 or 4? Stage 4 is the provider-led stage that's meant to begin at 12 months unemployment. Stage 3 is a Jobcentre adviser-led stage before that. I'm not quite sure of the timings on the pre-provider stuff over this summer, but for an October start people should already be receiving the 6 month support from advisers. Otherwise there's nothing replacing New Deal right now and nobody will be ready for FND referral in October anyway.

I live in a rural area with a very limited bus service.I completed a full New-Deal self employed option in November 08 & the jobcentre has fast tracked me to stage 3 of the Flexible new deal now(June 09). I am receiving 6 Month advisor support now, presumably with view to pushing me into stage 4 in October. My problem is the stage 4 provider module is (they say) only held at an area 20 miles from where I live. They have said it is mandatory, which is obvious, but I cannot get public transport to & from the provider in this area at normal business hours. I can get there, but not until nearly 11am. Will I be sanctioned for this even though I cannot get public transport at any other times?

My guess? No. FND has no attendance requirements set by government other than the work placement, so the provider has the ability to look at your individual circumstances and find something that fits. I would imagine that anybody trying to invoke a sanction for doing something that simply isn't possible would get short shrift.

I'm sure the provider will look at your transport issue and help you to address it, as it is obviously a difficulty you face when trying to return to work. you'll probably have an induction and you can discuss it with them then. Hopefully, you will have found work by October and then you won't need to worry or the provider will help you overcome the travel-to-work issue. Either way, you'll be a winner. Good Luck!

I have just completed a ND25+ programme on 7/8/09. Surely this does not mean that I have to go through the whole process again so soon, as I live in one of the first areas to take on the FND programme in Lanarkshire under the aegis of the Wise Group.
Please advise.

I doubt you will have to go on FND for at least a year. But your PA at the jobcentre should be able to you exactly.

If it's the same as my area, you will spend 6 months with a JCP adviser on Stage 3 of FND before spending a year with a provider on Stage 4 (if you don't get a job along the way).

Even if you have just completed ND25+ you will be moving onto FDN if you have been unemployed for 12 months.. ie.. you are going back to the [provider].. or [bad provider] as I like to call them.. Last time I was with them.. they actually cost me a job becuase of thier stupid contracts with JC+...

[Moderation - Names removed to protect the guilty]

Under the FND there is as already stated that there are no contractual hours that are required by the claimant of JSA, therefore there will seem to be alot of redundancies made by the bidding providers. Hence, more unemployed professional people on JSA? It all doesnt make sense, I would strongly urge the Labour/conservative party to spend their money wisely rather than playing 'ball' games. Conservatives oppose to this FND idea, Labour are in favour. Unemaployed people will go and vote for conservatives, people in employment for labour.. its all a complete mess!

it is a complete mess if you have that garbled an understanding of FND, yes.

when i was on new deal there were people on my course that had volunteered for new deal. I have been unemployed for 39 weeks can i volunteer for fnd ?

Hopefully someone with more knowledge can answer this question. Am I correct in thinking that A4e do NOT have a contract to run FND in Edinburgh?

@Gerry: You are entirely correct. The list of results shows that Ingeus (formerly WorkDirections) and Wise Group won the contract area covering Edinburgh.

@highpark1: There are early entry criteria for the FND process. Early entry is to Stage 3, which is the intensive Jobcentre support stage at 6 months rather than the provider-led 'Flexible New Deal'. I don't have the exact criteria to hand, but it should be possible to get hold of them if you have a look round, perhaps ask your Jobcentre adviser. This article also has more information on the FND stages and differences to New Deal.

Hi Daniel,

I am reliably informed that A4E are a sub-contractor for the Wise Group and cover Edinburgh.

D'oh! Darned subcontracting. Let's try that again.

@Gerry: You are partially correct. The list of results shows that Ingeus (formerly WorkDirections) and Wise Group won the contract area covering Edinburgh. However, A4e apparently have a subcontract with the Wise Group in the area.

Hmph. Roll on the proper list of who's delivering where.

Thanks Daniel and Anon for answering my question. I wasn't aware that A4e had been sub-contracted by the Wise Group.

In January I have am appointment for something called a "JR & FND - Stage 3 Subsequent Review" at Leith jobcentre in Edinburgh.
I have received no explanation from my so-called jobcentre advisor about what Stage 3 is, nor what happened to Stage 1 & 2 or even what the FND is.
Is this normal or is the jobcentre supposed to explain to the claimant the process and time duration for each stage? In short, tell me what is happening.

JCP advisers should ideally explain the process that claimants are undergoing. For the stages and timings of the new Jobseekers' Regime / FND, check out our article from last week.

Thanks for the link, Daniel. The diagram makes it much clearer. I already a rough idea about FND. I'll certainly ask my PA at the interview why she hasn't explained the process. Which you'd have thought should be a standard procedure.

Soon I shall be entering stage4. (Eastbourne) I've been informed at my JCP the training company 'Maximus' will be dealing with my long term employment issues (off record)each training/back to work advisor is paid a bonus by Maximus to ensure the unemployed find work.

There are penalties if one does not seek work (suspension of JSA) This is fine by me, but information I have gathered, is that it is common practice (above provider) to accompany peoples while looking for work on the street. Taking into the above. I consider this a breach of my Human Rights. Section 4 of the Act.

Being fortunate to have financial savings (to a limit) I have instructed my solicitor to undertake procedures on this matter in the EU Courts against our Government. I shall keep all informed.


on flexi new deal stage 3 at working links how many hours job search a week do you have to do? the old new deal was 2 or 3 hours one day a week then 13 weeks work placment

Gerry Atric! If you haven't already realised, the JCP are quite appauling at explaining any process to any of their customers. I'm coming up to the end of my last week of working at A4e and every course I have delivered, at least 70% of the customers do not know why they are attending. Busy or not, they should explain this. It's crazy

Thanks Vix. I'm rapid;y coming to the conclusion that JCP advisors don't know enough about FND themselves or b)there is a unwritten policy not to explain it to claimants. Nevertheless I'm surprised to hear that in your experience as many as 70% of your clients don't know why they are on FND. Wonder if this picture is fairly typical of the whole UK or is there a regional variation

From attending trainer meetings, most trainers from around England have fedback that their customers really don't have a clue what is expected of them, not just during the current FND but in the previous New Deal. It was the same for the weekly one day job search seminars I used to hold, for the recently unemployed. None of the attendees were even told it was voluntary or that it was only for a day ha ha.

My advice would be to approach the provider beforehand, if the JCP can't or won't give any further information. And I can tell you what goes on in FND if anyone is curious.

At the end of the day, A4e and similar providers do have the customers best interests at heart. Maybe not high up in the businesses but definately 'low down' i.e. the staff who deal with customers on a daily basis (ME) :-)

I'm at Stage 4 with JHP. So far it's a complete mess, my advisor cancelled a meeting with me due to weather and then had the nerve to put it as a day towards my maximum allowed absences, I've now missed/been late for my 4th meeting, not my fault, and im going to be sanctioned, Oh well. My JC advisor gives me evils and talks down to her nose at me, and my JHP advisor wont listen, I told him I'd just completed Pertemps, and multiple other courses, and I know how to use a phone etc, so what does he do? Put me down for help using a phone... They make me travel 1.5 hours to sit with them for half an hour, which seems a total waste of time, I'm now frantically looking for any work just to get away from them, Which I guess is what they want.

Cirus: You shouldn't be sanctioned by the jobcentre. You might want to consider contacting your MP if they do.

For future reference I would ask that if a meeting is to be cancelled it should be followed up by letter/email, rather than just being informed face-to-face or by phone. At least that way you have proof.

If anyone is on stage 3, ask your advisor about Future Jobs Fund. It's mainly for 18 -24 year old's however, if posts's can't be filled wihin 4 weeks it is opened up to 25+ age group. In some area's where there is high unemployment there will be jobs available for age 18 upwards claiming any working age benefit as long as the have been claiming for at least 39 weeks. In our area at present there is jobs doing youth work, admin, recycling and they are all for 30hrs at £6 per hour (each area will have different jobs at different rates and hours must be a minimum of 25hrs.). If you are on stage 3 and are eligible you JCP advisor should be discussing this with you before you move to FND.

i have just been for my induction at working links grimsby,this place is 10 times better than A4E from what i have been told about A4E, i have to go for one day every two weeks to do a 3 hour job search,can,t be bad lol,i have been on new deal last time i was unemployed at in training and all the little chavs with big gobs that just drive you mad.working links seems ok to me and looks great with its set out,its not just tables with loads of chairs round it and last months papers to read lol,not a very big place and not alot of people in today,the staff didnt seem the same as some providers when all they want is to get you the first crap job that comes along or try to send you off to some agency to work in a food factory for a day or week just so they get a bonus or makes them look good as some providers would,well if your unemployed and will soon have to go on FND just hope the job centre picks working links out or the 3,at the end of the day its something i have to do and not by choice so will make the most of it,if i end up with longterm employment then even better,not alot im my area at the mo so time will tell lol

I've been signing on for 6 months, but have been told that I'm being forwarded to 'Stage 4'. According to your 'The differences between New Deal and Flexible New Deal' page, I shouldn't be on this course for another 6 months yet!

To follow up, i've basically done 6 months of 'Phase 2. 'Directed job search''. I signed on as usual for the first 2 months. Since then i've alternated between signing on on weeks 10, 14, 18, 22, 26 and meetings with my advisor on weeks 12, 16, 20, 24. So i've yet to do 'Phase 3. 'The Gateway''.

Not a lot of people know this, BT have (All kept hush hush) (just signed up) a tariff for people on JSA and low user's it's called BT Basic. I'll let you do the search on the BT site, but one gets a nil line rental. If your phone calls are really low, it's the one for you


nice 1 daz just phoned bt they are sending me a form to fill in to send to the dole, but they say the basic service some broadband providers dont work with the basic service so you have to phone your provider to make sure £4.50 a months love it

Nice one Dazdaz. Why aren't you providers telling your clients about things like this? Wake up A4e, Ingeus, Serco, YMCA Training etc and get with it!!
What about basic bank accounts, see if you can give that a mention to FND clients, you certainly nver mentioned it on the old New Deal!

Flexible New Deal will be operating across half the country.. what about the other half fnd contracts have not been awarded for merseyside? yet so next month i have been on jsa for 1 year what will i go on new deal?

Good point Dangerboy. This particular page needs some clearing out to the grumpy FND discussion elsewhere, and possibly closing down of discussion as it's primarily an information page. I've already moved a ton of comments from here once before but it just keeps piling up for some reason. I'll sort it out later in the week. Note that I haven't had chance to read through the comments yet (there are rather a lot), so if you have problems with any particular ones then get in touch.

working links said they had 20 jobs for taxi drivers but didnt know the taxi firms name,the taxi firm would pay for the licence if you didnt have one,free radio,free rent,let you take the car home,you would earn about £300 a week but this job was not in the job centre,i know one of the guys that went for the interview and was told he had the job but nothing came of it,sounds like another fake interview to me,think they do things like this all the time to get a bonus its just so wrong

you wouldn't get a bonus for that.

I have just become familiar with this site. I started FND early February 2010, and to be quite truthful it makes absolutely no difference to me. The most it changes is that I sign on at JCP and I sign on at the FND provider. Period. It has absolutely nothing to offer. I wish! I have always been pretty organised about my job searches. I wished the whole process was about finding REAL constructive avenues to get people back to work.
I agree with some of the other comments here. JCP advisers give no information as to why they refer you to FND. I did my own research to get an idea of what was going on.... and that's it. To me it is complete duplication of what JCP used to do.. basically signing on showing a record of what I had done for job search and it took 5 minutes at JCP. Now it still take about 5 minutes to sign on at JCP and I have to travel to do the same thing at FND provider(train + 1 hour walk return with cost up to £8.50 depending on time of appointment)... Cannot see the point at all.

I started FND in Jan 2010, with Serco/i2i, not bad just signing on once a week with provider in my local area, but they said phase 2 I will be referred to another provider and do 40 hours a week unpaid work for 12 weeks, then for phase 3 of FND referred back to serco with 4 weeks community work cleaning streets etc, just hope that isnt true, cos on internet it says 4 weeks mandotary work placement

phase 1 is 20 weeks
phase 2 is 12 weeks
phase 3 is 20 weeks

I finish phase 1 in late may

Isobel: you do know that you can claim your travel expenses back from your FND provider - they should be able to refund the entire cost of travel for you the same day (petty cash - upto £10).

meeeee: there is no such thing as a bonus for arranging interviews: Employment providers revenue depends on registrations, job starts and 26 week retentions.

I live in Warrington and am currently on the Old New Deal. I started my 13 week option on 3rd May, and am due to finish on 30th July. Will i still have the follow-through period at the end of this if i have not found a job? My area doesn't have the FND yet.

Well I posted on this back in January when I first started the course, Im due to finish on December 22nd or around then. All in all this course was not very helpful, within the whole year, up until August I was with one advisor who was not very helpful, he had me come in a few times a month where he just asked what i did to look for work (same as the job centre) and then let me go, I did a 4 week work placement, which he messed up. He forgot to arrange a H&S check, so I started my placement a week late which messed up my money, I did get an EDI in Management which is helpful, but the only helpful thing so far.

In August I got bumped to another advisor because my original changed to part time work rather than full time, My new advisor drastically changed my routine i was used to, she decided I should go in every week with lists of 50 jobs I have applied for, 50 Ive handed my CV into, she also wanted me phoning up youth centres (Why? I didnt want youth work) looking for work, she treats me like crap, she keeps me waiting 15 minutes into my meeting to see her, then when im 2 minutes late, 2 minutes!!! She says she cant see me because i wasnt on time and she cant do my half hour meeting in such little time LOL. She tells me I need to come in every week and do 3 hours job search because they cant give you a daysaver unless you do atleast 3 hours, but Ive been getting them for going in for half an hour?

Ive sent my complaints to the job centre, I have to use public transport to travel 40 minutes to my course, to sit there for half hour while she doesnt even bother checking the stuff she made me do, to then take 40 minutes to go back. The guy I see at the job centre takes his time to search for jobs for me, ask how its going, and recommend jobs, and my advisor cant even check the evidence shes asked me to bring in!! Total waste of time. Cant wait to finish, i may even have to phone up this week and cancel cus of the icy weather.

@Cirus you say your work placement was messed up coz they forgot to do a h&s check. do you mean health n safety check?? if yes what provider are you with? what sort of work was your work placement? who did the health n safety check?

I think what @Cirus is pointing out is simply that her advisor had failed to carry out the required pre-placement H&S check. Not ideal, and a pain for @Cirus, but to look on the bright side, at least they seem diligent about not sending a client to a placement wothout having first confirmed that it is safe.

As to the other experinces @Cirus is having - not good. Little wonder some provision has such a bad name.

I read on a blog that some providers offices may be closed on the 15 December because of the protests. Does anyone know anything about this?

i am at stage 4 of fnd was told that i would be sent to a factory for 4 weeks to work for free.[edited]

i missed an appointment with my provider through illness contacted them and they assured me not to worry they would send me another appointment.my advisor made a blunder resulting in me being sanctiond i called him to querie this he told me that it was my problem for not turning up at appointment.i then got meeting with him and his boss it turns out he forgot to send letter got there i was told he could'nt make it(how convenient)it turns out he forgot to post letter in time for me to recieve it.appoint ment for 16 dec didnt recieve untill 18 dec.at the end of meeting all they wanted to know was whether i could draw a line under this or not.i said ok fine lets draw a line under it(little white lie)i havnt been back since i have 5 kids and this shower couldnt give a hoot as long as they are making huge profits.[edited]

trying to rip out what pride we have left all in the name of greed.only expect this from a tory gov.

oh yeah im from glasgow does any one have advice.at the end of my tether.

Hi all,
I was hoping somebody could help me with a problem I am having with my NewDeal25+ (we dont get FND in my area)
I started my NewDeal25+ in December and finished it Friday just gone (6 weeks due to having a one week training course). My problem is this:

I was hoping to get an extension to my new deal due to the "job placement" area manager saying that he couldnt employ me until the end of April (tax year), I wanted to do another 13 week placement (to keep myself in the loop for a position). The NewDeal provider/advisr said that this happens occasionally and that she would contact my job centre advisor. She got back to me and said that the job centre management said no to my request.

Has anybody else had an extension, and if so what were the reasons for it to be allowed?

Would the fact that during the 6 weeks we were supposed to have 1 day a week "job seach" at the new deal provider centre, out of those 6 week I could only go twice due to the NewDeal's Xmas holidays and the training week, be worth grounds for an extension?

Thanks for reading,



I work for a provider. We recently extended a client as there was a strong possibility of employment. So long as the grounds for the extension request are linked to the provider verifying opinion that there is a reasonable likelihood of employment then Jobcentre Plus would be mad to turn it down.

It sounds like you had a reasonable likelihood of your placement coverting into a job and at this time of year it is usual for some employment sectors to defer taking on new starts until their staff budgets are allocated in the new tax year.

Your jobcentre Plus advisor really needs to explain to you the reason for turning down the request. As you have left New Deal though I think it may be too late for an extension. You might encourage your advisor to refer you back onto option as Jobcentre advisors seem to have substantially more flexibility at the minute.

Alternatively perhaps you may be able to volunteer (though you would need to be careful about how many hours you do)

Thanks "smurf" for your comment,


Yesterday I phoned the District manager asking about an extention, she told me that it wouldnt be allowed so I told her that I will be contacting my MP to see if he would have any leverage to alter this decision (:P).

Today when I went in to transfer back to "jobseekers" I got told that because I phoned "upstairs" that I would be with my "newdeal" advisor for another week while they "make sure" that I am not entitled to another extension.

I also went into tell my "provider" what had been said and I was told that there is a meeting tomorrow and that my case would be brought up then.

"fingers crossed"


Iv just finished my year long provider led stage with serco. Iv got a end of provision appointment tomorrow with the job centre, does anyone know what this involves and what happens now will I restart fnd at stage 3 again thats what a lady who signed me suggested.

If you've completed the 52 weeks allotted time with Serco your end of provision appointment is really just to review what you've done and see what type of support JCP can continue to provide. You are officially a "completer" - congratulations! So you won't restart but may continue to get support from JCP if you're lucky. If you remain unemployed you will become eligible for Work Programme in the future. Make sure you take some control and let your adviser know what ongoing support you think would be useful to you. Good luck.

I had my appointment today, I have to see an advisor at least fortnightly and I am being referred back to a provider led work trials scheme which involves minimum 8 weeks work placement, I am not back on stage 3 just a fnd customer, does anyone have any more info about this work trials scheme ? iv just done 52 weeks of provider led fnd I didnt think id be sent back to the same place so soon.


I was given job support (one day) by my University and found it very helpful. However,I can no longer afford to travel there and back what can I do?

Graduate support is Zero!! terrible

Lottie you could try a place called prospects... its the offical graduate careers website or even maybe next steps they can give you advice & info about what sort of funding is available to you!

Give 'em a google! :)