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September 2018
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Welfare to Work Scheme ' improving the lives of the long term unemployed

Rob Murdoch, Chair of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) welcomed the further clarity given today by the Government on how existing welfare to work schemes will be replaced by the single Work Programme.

Mr Murdoch said -this is a significant step, and will help employment services providers to help many more thousands of long term unemployed people get off benefits and into work. ERSA members echo the Secretary of State’s commitment – we too are here to help people improve their lives.

-ERSA has been working closely with the Government on devising the new single scheme to ensure that it delivers what Iain Duncan Smith has set out, a back to work programme that -offers targeted, personalised help for those who need it most, sooner rather than later”.

-Introducing the Work Programme next year allows adequate time to put the new scheme in place and manage the transition. ERSA will continue to engage positively with Government to ensure that this transition is managed smoothly and to achieve the greatest possible value from a single scheme.

-We believe that working together we can ensure that the procurement exercise for the `Work Programme’ reflects the significant contribution and experience that our members have in delivering welfare to work schemes.

-We encourage the Government to create maximum flexibility, by allowing other Whitehall departments and local authorities to pool their budgets with DWP spending and deliver services through the single Work Programme.

-In honouring the 12 month notice period that ERSA negotiated as part of Flexible New Deal, we welcome the Government’s recognition that, should contracts be terminated, a full year’s notice is necessary to ensure a smooth transition and stability within the sector, in the best interests of jobseekers and long term value to the taxpayer.

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