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Archive for January 3rd, 2012

Announcement: of providers for turning around troubled families

A £200 million package to help turn around the lives of Britain’s most troubled families was unveiled by employment minister Chris Grayling.

The outreach programme will be delivered by a mixture of public, private and voluntary organisations which will be paid by results.

The Focus

Focusing on households with at least one member on benefits, the scheme will complement work by local authorities to help the 120,000 most dysfunctional households in the country.

The initiative is based on the same principles as the payment-by-results Work Programme and is designed to help people acquire the skills to and stay in work.

It will also assist with family and parenting issues, money management, alcohol and drug abuse and housing problems.

Eight welfare-to-work companies have been appointed by Mr Grayling to work with councils and more than 200 local organisations, most of which are voluntary or charitable groups.

It will be funded out of money from the European Social Fund.

Payment

Companies running the schemes will be able to claim up to 40 per cent of their contracts in “attachment fees” once an individual has signed up and agreed to an “action plan”.

Providers will be paid in three stages – when a member of a ‘troubled’ family signs up to a personal action plan, when the plan is completed, and finally when the individual has moved into employment. In total, a three-year contract will be worth up to £15,000 per family.

Successful providers are;

Companies delivering support are:

  • Working Links
  • The Wise Group
  • G4S Care and Justice Service
  • Reed in Partnership
  • Skill Training UK
  • PARAGON Concord International
  • EOS
  • Twin Training International Ltd

More details here

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CAB Scotland, Welfare reform a real concern

GOVERNMENT agencies have been described as being “unhelpful, aggressive and incompetent” in a report by Citizens Advice Bureau Scotland.

Citizens Advice Bureau Scotland has also identified welfare reform as its greatest concern for 2012.

A survey by CAB Scotland of its staff revealed a number of angry comments about some of the agencies they regularly have to deal with on behalf of their clients.

This year’s survey shows that 53 per cent of Scotland’s CAB staff think benefits issues are the single biggest problem area, and 73 per cent said this was one of their top two issues.

Other concerns

The other major concern was personal debt, which was cited by 21 per cent of CAB advisers as their main issue and by 46 per cent as one of their top two issues.

CAB Scotland’s head of policy, Susan McPhee, said:

“This year’s survey shows that the reforms being made to the benefits system are really hitting the most vulnerable Scots, and our staff around the country now believe this is by far the greatest problem they see being brought to the CAB.

“Debt also remains high on the list, and there is a big rise in concern about the behaviour of utility companies, much of which was based on the issue of high fuel bills.”

Read more Scotsman

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Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Liam Byrne has called for a radical rethink of the welfare state, arguing that the benefits system has betrayed its founding principles and “skewed social behaviour”.

The Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary argues that the ballooning of the system has provided support that is unearned, and mislaid the original ideal of providing help to those that contribute.

In an article for the Guardian marking the 70th anniversary of the Beveridge report, Byrne identifies;

  • housing benefit budget,
  • benefits for long-term unemployment,
  • the lack of proper incentives to reward responsible long-term savers as three key flaws in the current welfare state.

He writes: “Beveridge would scarcely believe that housing benefit alone is costing the country over £20bn a year. That is simply too high.”

Comment

For the last 13 years Labour has presided and supported this system it is clear that Labour now believes that its past record and ambitions were wrong..  not sure that the electorate will buy this 360 degree turn… is labour credible?

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