A shake-up in government support for disabled and other benefit claimants seeking work will go live next summer, employment minister Chris Grayling said today.
In a ministerial statement, Grayling said the Work Programme, which will merge all existing employment support programmes for benefit claimants, would be launched by the summer of 2011.
A number of existing programmes for disabled people would be replaced, including Pathways to Work, Workstep, New Deal for Disabled People, Work Preparation and the Job Introduction Scheme, will either be merged into the scheme at the time or phased in, to ensure continuity of provision.
However, the government is yet to confirm whether it will carry forward its predecessor’s plans to launch Work Choice, a new employment support programme for disabled job seekers, this October.
This would merge Workstep, Work Preparation and the Job Introduction Scheme. The previous government announced preferred bidders in March, which includes Shaw Trust.
Grayling said: “We are committed to supporting severely disabled people and are currently reviewing the best way of doing this.”
Grayling added that the government had written to affected providers and will discuss the implications for them on a one-to-one basis.
He said Work Programme would provide “significant opportunities” for private and voluntary sector providers “to deliver truly flexible and personalised support” and particularly highlighted the role of the voluntary sector.