Policy Updates

Area Review Update – AELP Countdown 754

  • BIS have announced details of which areas are to be included in upcoming ‘waves’ of the Area Review process, although ITPs are not formally ‘in scope’, officials stress that all providers should be engaged as it is possible that recommendations will impact upon all aspects of provision.
  • Wave 1 reviews are progressing well
  • Plans are in place for a restructuring fund and for further leadership development through the Education and Training Foundation to support any recommended changes
  • Many Area Reviews will make recommendations about the establishment of Institutes of Technology, and these may be established on a broad partnership model – the opportunity for ITPs to engage in this (especially if the Institutes are seen virtually rather than in terms of ‘bricks and mortar’) will become clearer
  • What seems clear is that proactive engagement is helpful to all providers, and many local networks are facilitating this and officials state that ITPs should focus on maintaining strong relationships with both colleges and LEPs to demonstrate responsiveness

JCP Support Rolled out to schools – DWP Press release– ERSA E Bulletin 15.1.16 – Read about it here

  • As part of the Jobcentre Plus support for schools initiative, JCP advisors will offer 12 to 18 year old pupils “insight into the world of work” and advice on options like traineeships and apprenticeships.
  • Each school will decide what level of support advisors offer to their pupils, which could include setting up work experience placements, one-to-one advice and group-led question and answer sessions

EFA Post 16 Funding Letter released

  • The main points the letter covers are that the 16-18 Apprenticeship budget will increase over the duration of Parliament
  • Providers with less than an Ofsted Grade 2 will be able to deliver Traineeships moving forward

Government respond to W2W consultation – AELP Countdown 755 – Read about it here

In a Special Report published last week by the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, the government has responded to the Committee’s October 2015 report on welfare-to-work

  • The response confirms broad plans for future employment support – more intensive JCP support in the earlier months of benefit claims, and a single contracted Health and Work Programme for two-years+ claimants from 2017 – and confirms an intention to develop a characteristic-based initial assessment test of clamant barriers to employment
  • However, it rejected two of the Committee’s main recommendations, including a proposal to refer claimants to contracted providers earlierFrank Field MP, Chair of the Select Committee, criticised the intent for claimants to be kept “warehoused at Jobcentre Plus” for two years, saying it would cost taxpayers more than the reformed system that had been put forward.

UK Employment at record high of 74% (ERSA E bulletin) Read about it here

  • Official figures show that over the last year more than half-a-million more people are now in work, bringing employment to a new record high of 31.4 million

Apprenticeship Delivery Board set up AELP Countdown 756 – Read about it here

  • A new Apprenticeship Delivery Board is to be established to encourage more businesses to develop quality apprenticeships
  • This will be Chaired by the Prime Minister’s apprenticeship advisor Nadhim Zahawi MP and businessman and apprenticeship champion David Meller
  • Members will act as apprenticeship champions within their sector, working with employers of all sizes to increase both the number of apprenticeship places on offer and the supply of talented candidates.

Traineeship delivery restrictions lifted – AELP Countdown 756 – read about it here

  • SFA announced today that rules requiring providers to have an Ofsted Grade1 or Grade 2 in order to deliver Traineeships will be lifted from the 1st February.
  • All other 2015 to 2016 funding rules will continue to apply, but if providers have an existing funding allocation and the appropriate contractual arrangements, they will be able to deliver traineeships ahead of the 2016 to 2017 funding year.

DWP Work and Health Programme update at ERSA Health & Disability Forum

Nick Butler, Head of Work Programme Strategy at DWP have given an insight to the direction of travel for the Work Programme replacement, The Health and Work Programme.

  • Tender will be later this year with the programme to launch in 2017
  • DWP want to make sure the scope and design of this programme is right and that enough time is given to implement it (lessons learnt from the Work Programme’s slow start year1)

Points to note

  • Ideally want a 6 month window from contract award to contract start
  • Target group those Health or Disability issues and the long-term unemployed
  • Series of focus groups to scope out the design e.g. payment model (unlikely that this will be like the current WP), procurement, supporting sub-groups. Although the emphasis is local, the bid will be published as one national round rather than individual local lots
  • Fund will be smaller than the WP