Archive for September, 2010

CDG’s Expert Volunteer Summit on 14th October 2010 (10am to 2pm at Central Hall, Storey’s Gate, Westminster, SW1H 9NH) has just 19 places still available for those interested in joining delegates from the welfare-to-work, private, public, charitable and community sectors to discuss and debate the expert volunteer initiative.

Speakers at the summit, giving their views and opinions on how to attract expert volunteers to support those who are unemployed back into work, include:

o      Helen Simpson, Director of Volunteering, BT – The benefits of volunteering, an employer perspective

o      Sarah King, Chief Executive, Reach – The appetite of volunteers & how to recruit them

o      Mark Ravenhall, Director of Operations, Niace – Community Learning Champions National Support Programme

o      Bob Leach, Managing Director, Maximus – Volunteering and welfare to work, a DWP prime contractor perspective

o      David Mears, Partner, Charity Team, Russell-Cooke Solicitors – Legal considerations when using volunteers

o      Roy O’Shaughnessy, Chief Executive, CDG – Next steps for the Expert Volunteer Initiative

If you wish to take up one of the 19 remaining places, please contact Rebecca Green, Development Manager at volunteers@cdguk.org


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The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has responded to the government’s Skills for Sustainable Growth consultation arguing that the UK is suffering from a lack of leadership and management skills which is inhibiting the country’s economic competitiveness.

The CIPD’s response consisted of criticism over the large proportion of public spending on skills which they argue is not having the desired effect as poor management is hindering employees’ motivation and engagement.

Stephanie Bird, the CIPD’s Director of Public Policy and HR Capability, said:

“There is much in the new government’s skills consultation that is to be welcomed. A clear intention to simplify the byzantine skills system, a focus on enhancing the role apprenticeships can play in supporting skills development and job creation.

However, we are concerned that too much spending on skills – by government and employers alike – is being wasted because managers lack the skills to engage, motivate, coach and develop people in the workplace. Effective managers also manage stress, conflict and absence effectively and provide support when employees are facing problems”

In order to remedy this predicament the CIPD has called for the establishment of a pan-government people management skills strategy.  This would focus on elevating employee engagement by endorsing best practice on leadership and people management in order to influence employers to invest more effectively in staff management skills.

People Management

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National minimum wage (NMW) regulations.

Under the new protocols the NMW will increase from:

  • £5.80 to £5.93 an hour for workers aged 21 and over.
  • £4.83 to £ 4.92 and hour for workers aged 18 to 20.
  • £3.57 to £3.64 an hour for workers aged 16 to 17.

The adult minimum wage will be extended to labourers aged 21 or over from October 2010.  The previous qualifying age for the adult NMW was 22.

The following wage rates for apprentices will also apply from the 1st October, 2010:

  • £2.50 per hour for apprentices under the age of 19.
  • £2.50 per hour for apprentices aged 19 and over, but in the first year of their apprenticeship.


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Earlier this week Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, announced the appointment of Robert Devereux as the new Permanent Secretary of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).  Mr Devereux will be taking over from the current Permanent Secretary Sir Leigh Lewis who will be retiring at the end of December.  The appointment was approved by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Ian Duncan Smith.

Mr Devereux will commence his new position at the beginning of January 2011.

Commenting upon his appointment, Robert Devereux said:

“I am delighted to be returning to DWP, to lead the Department at such an important time for welfare and pension reform. I have learned a great deal from my experience, and enjoyed working with excellent colleagues, at the Department for Transport over the last eight years, and look forward to the challenges ahead”

Sir Leigh Lewis said:

“I welcome Robert’s appointment and am certain that he is the right person to help the Department deliver our ambitious programme of welfare and pension reform in the coming years.

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to lead the Department for the last five years and I know that its staff will support Robert in the way they have supported me.”

Robert Devereux Biography

Robert Devereux began his Civil Service career in 1979, with a degree in mathematics from St Johns College, Oxford.  He began working with the Overseas Development Administration and during his career has held posts in HM Treasury, the Department for Social Security, the Department for Work and Pensions, as well as a secondment to Guinness Brewing Worldwide.

He joined the Department for Transport in 2003 and took over as Permanent Secretary in May 2007.  He became Head of the Policy Profession for the Civil Service in April 2009.

Sir Leigh Lewis Biography

Having graduated in Hispanic studies from Liverpool University, Leigh Lewis joined the then Department of Employment as an Administrative Trainee in September 1973. Since then Leigh’s career has spanned the public and private sectors. He has been Principal Private Secretary to Lord Young, Minister without Portfolio and Secretary of State, in 1984 and in 1988 joined Cable and Wireless plc as group personnel director. He was subsequently appointed Director of Finance at the Department of Employment and Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

In February 2003 Leigh Lewis was appointed to the Home Office as Permanent Secretary for Crime, Policing, Counter-Terrorism and Delivery. He was appointed to his present post in November 2005.

Read More

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Microsoft has made a pitch to join the government’s ‘big society’ agenda by announcing the creation of 150 new work placements which are designed to provide young people who are unemployed with valuable work experience skills.

Microsoft’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Matt Lambert, told politics.co.uk that:
“Work experience has a big impact on employability. This ‘One Week to Change a Lifetime’ programme is us trying to give a lead. It’s a great chance for business at very little cost, to change the prospects for young people”.

Microsoft is encouraging other businesses to follow its lead and all three main political parties have shown support for the programme.

Read more…

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  • To March 2009 Pathways cost DWP £538 million
  • In 2008-09 (year 1 of the national Pathways programme), Pathways cost £247 million, of which £130 million related to provision in Provider-led Pathways areas.
  • In 2008-09, there were 650,000 new claims for incapacity benefits leading to 501,000 (77% of new claims) individual ‘starts’ to the Pathways programme from people required to participate.
  • There were a further 77,000 individual ‘starts’ to the programme from longer term incapacity benefits claimants who had volunteered to participate, of whom around 90% have been engaged by contractors in Provider-led Pathways areas.


  • 15% of claimants starting Pathways to the end of March 2009 had moved into employment, at a cost of £2,942 per job
  • Pathways as a whole, including New Deal for Disabled People in Jobcentre Plus Pathways areas cost £451 per programme start,
  • Compare this with £3,530 per job for the former New Deal 25 plus scheme for the long-term unemployed,

Jobs achieved through mandatory participation in Pathways would have been achieved without the programme,

Jobcentre Plus Pathways has performed better than Provider-led Pathways in supporting mandatory claimants into employment,

Support offered through Pathways (including the Condition Management Programme and the Return-to-Work Credit) appear to have no additional employment impact… That’s £94 million spent with no discernible impact WOW!

Even taking account of the impact of the recession, contractors have underperformed against targets set out in contracts. Provider-led Pathways has NOT demonstrated better performance than Jobcentre Plus.

Contractors have not received payment in line with what they expected,

The Department removed earlier restrictions on allowing contractors to claim performance payments for people who volunteer to participate in Pathways. Contractors can now claim payments for helping an unlimited number of voluntary participants.


Due to contractor underperformance and cash-flow difficulties, DWP invited contractors to submit individual applications for a proportion of the contract service fee to be paid early. During 2008-09 £24 million of service fees were paid in this way.

  • Risk that contractors will pull out of their contracts because they cannot make them pay. Over half said they would not bid for a new Pathways contract under the same terms
  • Despite being conceptually sound The Office of Government Commerce concluded that the contracted out model of welfare-to-work was still unproven.

With one third of prime contractors and two thirds of subcontractors expecting to make a financial loss. The contracting model the Department has chosen does not appear to be sustainable”

In procuring Provider-led Pathways, the Department set ambitious benchmarks. The tenders subsequently submitted by contractors and agreed with the Department were significantly in excess of these benchmarks and [obviously were] not realistic.





Over promising, overspending, under performance: lessons will/must be learned

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Working with Employers to Supplement Funded Revenue, Achieve Targets, Improve Skills and Productivity and Increase Employment’

In its third year the one day conference aims to bring employers and purchasers of Vocational Education and Training to the audience to express their expectations and values in the delivery of this learning and to bring together the following three groups of speakers to disseminate what Employer Engagement means to each stakeholder:

  • Keynote speakers outlining policy for and expectation of employer involvement in the sector.
  • Employers, SSCs and employer representatives, who provide the ultimate checks and balances about their expectations of service and skills development beneficial to future employment.
  • Highly focused professionals covering a wide range of aspects of how educational institutions and learning providers can react to Government policy the actual needs of employers and benefit the performance of their organisation.
  • Training providers and colleges who have developed successful strategies for employer engagement and non-funded revenue streams.

The conference also includes an exhibition and offers sponsorship opportunities for organisations wishing to support the conference.


Monday 27th September 2010, at the Lakeside Centre,  Birmingham

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