Councils and DWP to agree disability employment scheme devolution pilots
Schemes to get the unemployed back into work should be devolved to councils, according to proposals due to be discussed by the LGA.
The proposals, published ahead of a meeting of the LGA’s City Regions Board on 13 June, say that the LGA is due to approve a new deal with the DWP for local authorities to co-commission the Work and Health Programme in 10 pilot areas.
The Work and Health programme is designed to get benefits claimants with disabilities and long-term health conditions back into work, and will replace the Work Programme and Work Choice from 2017.
However, its budget will be cut by four-fifths compared to the Work Programme, to just £130m a year.
At a board meeting on Tuesday, London Councils discussed seeking devolution of the Work and Health Programme, as well as the adult education budget.
The LGA papers say that the proposals, which include a new national devolution offer outside the pilot areas, can be used “to influence other parts of the DWP’s employability offer”.
This could include creating a local public employment service, based on existing schemes such as MyGo in Suffolk, following the expiry of the Job Centre Plus estate contracts in 2018.
The LGA is considering publishing a green paper on these proposals by the end of the year.
The paper also recommends that councils consider entering partnerships to improve adult employment services, creating extended lender loan systems, and supporting small and medium enterprises to create apprenticeships, since they are exempt from the apprenticeship levy.
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