The Work Programme is a radical transformation in the way that the Department for Work and Pensions delivers welfare-to-work services across the UK. It replaced several existing welfare-to-work programmes with a single comprehensive programme designed to deliver more consistent support for job seekers through a simplified and streamlined process.
Welfare Reform to Get Britain Working
The Coalition Government has set out a number of major welfare-to-work reforms that aim to fight poverty, support the most vulnerable and help people break the cycle of benefit dependency.
The Work Programme radically simplifies the back-to-work system; it's an integrated package of support providing personalised help for a wide range of customers, many of whom have been out of work for a number of years.
Reforming the benefits system aims to make it fairer, more affordable and better able to tackle poverty, worklessness and welfare dependency.
The Work Programme in summary:
- Replaced many previous programmes for unemployed people including New Deal, Pathways to Work and Employment Zones.
- Is a single programme for customers regardless of the benefit they claim.
- Focuses on providing skills and support to sustain work opportunities for customers.
- Payments to contractors are based largely on results.
- Is a regionally focussed prime contractor model, with top-tier providers managing subcontractors and supply chains.
- Providers are incentivised through individualised pricing to work with customers who are furthest from the labour market.
Mandatory Work Activity
Mandatory Work Activity is about offering some customers further support and encouraging them to do more to look for work.
The support that Jobcentre Plus delivers to customers across all working age benefits changed from April 2011. This change gives more flexibility to Jobcentre Plus managers and advisers to judge which interventions will help individual customers most cost effectively, choosing from a menu of support to help customers according to their individual needs, rather than focussing on process. Included in this menu of support is Mandatory Work Activity.
Jobcentre Plus advisers have identified a small number of Jobseeker’s Allowance customers who have little or no understanding of what behaviours are required to obtain and keep work. Mandatory Work Activity was introduced in April 2011 to address the barriers to obtaining and retaining work demonstrated by this group. The aim is to help customers discover for themselves the expectations of work including: attending on time and every day, following instructions and working in teams.
Advisers will be able to require that a customer takes part in the programme, encouraging customers to develop the crucial disciplines associated with employment, while at the same time making a contribution to their community. Customers will be required to participate in placements for up to 30 hours a week, for four weeks.
Referrals to Mandatory Work Activity can be made at any point of a claim when the customer is supported by Jobcentre Plus, but it is expected that Mandatory Work Activity participants will normally have been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for 13 weeks or more.
Rehab JobFit’s aim is to provide customers with a work placement that will give them relevant work skills, help establish a work routine and familiarise them with working practices and employer expectations. The Mandatory Work Activity programme aims to enhance the long-term employment prospects of those referred by providing a high quality work placement.
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