London employment support programme starts work

  • By Gemma Kappala-R...

The Work and Health Programme (WHP) in London launched across the whole of the capital today. The WHP is an employment support programme delivered by four sub-regional groups of boroughs to assist Londoners to secure sustained employment and benefit from the social and economic benefits of work.

The London WHPs focus on providing tailored employment support to disabled people, people with long term health conditions, and people who have been out of work for more than two years. 

The launch of the programmes are the latest milestone in London’s devolution agenda, strengthening the case for more powers, freedoms and budgets to be handed down to local leaders to meet the needs of the capital’s residents. 

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has devolved grant funding for the Work and Health Programme to groups of London boroughs working in four sub-regional areas. Worth up to £135m, this figure includes match-funding from the European Social Fund via the Greater London Authority (GLA) to run the programme over five years.

Devolution of the Work and Health Programme will allow London boroughs to work more flexibly with employment support providers and coordinate a wider range of services around the individual. This work has been enabled by the smaller contract package areas in London compared to the national programme. This builds on the work already taking place in the boroughs to bring services together and support disabled people to enter and sustain work. 

Devolution has also allowed the sub-regions the flexibility to adopt variations on the payment models to those used in the national WHP. For example, West, Central and South London have created different payment models which encourage providers to support people into roles that pay the London Living Wage. 

Cllr Claire Kober OBE, Chair of London Councils, said:

“The devolution of the Work and Health Programme to London will realise the potential of Londoners who are excluded from the social and economic benefits of work. 

“In London there are currently 570,000 people who want to work but are not in employment. The disability employment gap has barely moved in over a decade, and now stands at 26.3% in London. 

“It is exciting news that London boroughs working together in sub-regional partnerships have their contracts in place and are now launching their programmes. We hope that delivering tailored employment support that meets local needs will start to have a real impact on people’s lives.”

Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said: 

“Far too many disabled and vulnerable Londoners face barriers when looking for work. The London Work and Health programme can give them support to realise their potential, and will make a real difference to thousands of people’s lives.

“Delivering this support more locally will allow easier links with other local services, meaning Londoners get the right support at the right time. This is yet another example of cities and their local government being best-placed to identify and meet the specific needs of their residents."

Sarah Newton, Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, said: 

“Everyone should be able to go as far as their talents can take them at work, and we are determined to provide extra tailored support to those who need it. The Work and Health Programme plays a key role in our ambitious plan to help one million more disabled people and people with health conditions into work over the next decade. Working together with our local partners we can help ensure everyone has the chance of reaching their full potential.”

The four sub-regional areas and their WHP contractors are:

Sub-region: West London Alliance (Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow)
WHP contractor: The Shaw Trust

Sub-region: Central London Forward (Camden, City of London, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark, Wandsworth, Westminster, Hackney, Haringey and Lewisham)
WHP contractor: Ingeus

Sub-region: Local London (Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Enfield, Greenwich, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Bromley)
WHP contractor: Maximus

Sub-region: South London Partnership (Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton) 
WHP contractor: Reed in Partnership


Notes to editors:

The London Work and Health Programmes will provide employment support for jobseekers who have long term health conditions or are disabled, and people who have been unemployed for two years or more. In addition to these groups there will be a number of early entrants to the WHP, including:

  • an ex-offender (someone who has completed a custodial sentence or a community sentence), or offender (someone who is serving a community sentence)
  • a carer claiming JSA
  • an ex-carer
  • a homeless person
  • an ex-HM Armed Forces personnel participant
  • an HM Armed Forces reservist participant
  • a partner of current or former Armed Forces personnel
  • a person for whom a drug/alcohol dependency (including a history of) presents a significant barrier to employment
  • a care leaver
  • refugees
  • young people in gangs
  • victims of domestic violence

Local priorities will be taken into account when assigning places to the programmes.

Referrals to the programmes will be made through Jobcentre Plus.

DWP has provided around £72 million of funding to London and Greater Manchester to develop, procure and deliver localised versions of the new Work and Health Programme to fit the needs of their residents. Local Government Partners have also secured an equivalent amount of ESF funding through the Greater London Authority so more individuals can be supported.