Voluntary groups part of Government Work Programme

Almost 300 voluntary sector organisations are to be part of a national programme to tackle long-term unemployment, the Employment Minister Chris Grayling announced today.

Voluntary sector groups such as Mencap, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, the Prince’s Trust and Action for Blind People are all going to be involved in delivering the Work Programme as part of the Government’s “Big Society” project.

The Government says its Work Programme will provide a completely new approach to supporting people back to work.

The 18 private and voluntary sector organisations named as preferred bidders will be able to come up with their own plans for back to work schemes rather than have them set by Government. They will be paid by results – with more for those who get the hardest to help off benefits and into work.

Launching the Work Programme at a visit to Action Acton, a West London charity named as one of the successful sub contractors, Chris Grayling said: “This is a radical change to the way we deliver back to work support in this country. For the first time those charities and voluntary sector organisations across the country with the know how to help people with real difficulties in their communities get back to work are being given the chance to do just that.

“Millions of people on out of work benefits who have previously been shunted from dole queue to training room to dole queue again will finally be able to access support that’s built around their needs.”

The Government says the organisations named today will be paid through the benefit savings made from the people they help get back to work.

In the first two years the Work Programme is expected to help around a million people. However, the Programme is effectively uncapped which means if more people need the tailor made support the Programme offers – they will receive it.

The organisations named as preferred bidders will now go onto contract signing and the Programme will begin in June when the first customers are referred from Jobcentre Plus.

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