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Archive for the ‘Consultation’ Category

Collective redundancy consultation

This call for evidence seeks views on the impact of current rules on collective redundancy. It aims to understand the challenges in pursuing collective redundancy consultation, including the barriers to starting consultation and achieving agreement.

Through the Employment Law Review and the Red Tape Challenge, the Government is seeking to ensure that the UK has a labour market where both employers and workers are informed and empowered and able to negotiate their relationship with minimal intervention by Government.

Employers have said during the Employment Law Review that the current rules on collective redundancy consultation slow their ability to restructure effectively and can put future business success at risk.  They report that the difficulty in effecting redundancies has a negative impact on employers’ confidence in hiring people, slows employees’ reengagement in the labour market and makes it harder for businesses to restructure to react effectively to changing market conditions.  Ongoing uncertainty can also have a serious impact on workforce morale and productivity.

A minimum time period before redundancies can take place after a consultation begins has been in place in the UK since 1975.  Government believes that review is now appropriate to take account of:

  • the increase in the pace of decision-making in all areas of life as a result of innovations in information and communications technology; and
  • the need to facilitate a labour market that can generate economic growth in the face of a global economic downturn

The call for evidence considers four main areas:

  • the process of consultation, including the ability to reach agreement and the issue of establishment
  • the minimum periods for consultation and notification
  • high impact redundancies
  • the link with TUPE and insolvency legislation

This call for evidence is an important part of the review: we want to know what you think and why.

The consultation

The consultation rules

The consultation form

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Latest news from yesMinister

 

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Changes to Remploy feared  

There are growing concerns that Remploy may close many of its factories across the country if it loses vital Government funding.

Funding currently comes from the Department of Work and Pensions which gives £63m in support which works out at around £23,000 a year for every employee – this figure, and the cost is however subject to interpretation.

However, ministers are considering radical changes to the way the firm is funded after the government-commissioned Sayce review said,

“government funding should be invested in effective support for individuals, rather than subsidising factory businesses”.

The review also recommended the closure of factories which were “not viable”.

Public consultation on the Sayce Report is now closed and the Department of Work and Pensions is beginning to read through the responses before the Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller.

No final decision has been reached but she has already said she is “attracted” to its recommendations whilst insisting that the consultation is meaningful.

Click here for the Sayce report

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Work and Pensions Committee

Select Committee Announcement

13 October 2011
For Immediate Release:
AN52 2010–12

ORAL EVIDENCE

Proposal to replace DLA with Personal Independence Payment

——————————————————————————–

Wednesday 19 October 2011, Grimond Room, Portcullis House

At 9.30 am

Professor Steve Fothergill, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University
Sue Royston, Social Policy Officer, Citizens Advice
Professor Roy Sainsbury, Research Director, Social Policy Research Unit, University of York.
Claudia Wood, Head of Public Services and Welfare Programme, Demos

The Work and Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry into the Government’s proposal to introduce Personal Independence Payment (PIP) from 2013, replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for working age claimants by 2015/16.

PIP will be similar to DLA in that it will be a non-means tested, non-contributory tax-free cash benefit paid to people whose disabilities mean they incur extra costs in everyday life; however, the Government aims to simplify the benefit and reduce expenditure by introducing a new assessment for PIP and by changing some of the current rules. The changes include: systematic periodic review of most PIP awards; ending automatic entitlement for specific conditions; replacing DLA’s three rates in the care component with two rates in the new daily living component; and extending the Qualifying Period from 3 months to 6 months.

This is the first evidence session in the inquiry. The Committee will explore the case for reform and the Government’s approach to it. It will also consider the current draft of the new PIP assessment, plans for its delivery and the Government’s communication strategy.

Further information
Written evidence:
Interested organisations and individuals were invited to submit written evidence before 26 August 2011. The evidence received has been published on the committee’s website.
Committee membership:

Dame Anne Begg MP (Chair) (Lab, Aberdeen South), Mrs Debbie Abrahams MP (Oldham East and Saddleworth), Harriett Baldwin MP (Con, West Worcestershire), Andrew Bingham MP (Con, High Peak), Karen Bradley MP (Con, Staffordshire Moorlands), Kate Green MP (Lab, Stretford and Urmston), Mr Oliver Heald MP (Con, North East Hertfordshire), Glenda Jackson MP (Lab, Hampstead and Highgate), Brandon Lewis MP, (Con, Great Yarmouth), Stephen Lloyd MP (Lib Dem, Eastbourne), Teresa Pearce MP (Lab, Erith and Thamesmead)

Specific Committee Information: workpencom@parliament.uk 020 7219 2839

Media Information: bridgespalmerj@parliament.uk 020 7219 0724

Committee Website: http://www.parliament.uk/workpencom
Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: http://www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications/Reports/Reference Material:

Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on http://www.parliament.uk

Hannah Beattie
Committee Assistant
Work and Pensions Committee
House of Commons
0207 219 2180
beattieh@parliament.uk

UK Parliament Disclaimer:
This e-mail is confidential to the intended recipient. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender and delete it from your system. Any unauthorised use, disclosure, or copying is not permitted. This e-mail has been checked for viruses, but no liability is accepted for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.

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Reform of Public Services: Good or Bad?

 

The long expected white paper on open public services has finally been published and reactions to it, as expected, have been very mixed. The paper sets out five main objectives:

 

  1. Choice – Increasing choice giving people direct control over services they use
  2. Decentralisation – Power over services to be held more locally. Community budgets to be introduced in 50 more local authorities
  3. Diversity – Opening public services to new providers in voluntary, public and private sectors. Instead of having to justify competition, Cameron said, the new default will be to justify a monopoly on service provision
  4. Fairness – Measures include a new people premium to be introduced to help disadvantaged children into the best schools and community organizers to work in the worst areas
  5. Accountability – Payment by Results a big lever in achieving better accountability, as will greater transparency

 

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) issued a welcoming response to the White Paper from Chief Executive Sir Stuart Etherington:

“This paper is a useful start in looking at the tasks ahead. We want to see a smart, effective and innovative commissioning system which values what all sectors can bring to the table and has the interests of service users and communities at its heart. There needs to be a major overhaul of commissioning to ensure a level playing field for all providers.”

 

NCVO has previously maintained the notion that the voluntary sector should not have an automatic right to deliver publicly funded projects but has always advocated that where it is practical, given the skill base experience and intimate knowledge of the disadvantaged, the voluntary sector should step in.  The NCVO points out that one of the major obstacles currently barring this was funding.  If properly resourced, specialised organisations dealing with for example drugs, ex-offenders, and poverty could make a positive contribution. An example could be given in the much heralded Work Programme were many providers are using a triage system to indentify the  needs of each individual, identifying any barriers , and the voluntary sector  could provide effective solutions in this situation.

Whilst the objectives have been well received, as with all Government White Papers the ‘devil is in the detail’.  Trade Unions have been critical of the proposals. The General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, Mark Serwotka announced on Monday:

“This has nothing to do with people power; it’s about handing more of our public services over to private companies so they can make massive profits at taxpayers’ expense.

“The government can not be trusted to act in the wider public interest and it can not be trusted with the welfare state. People will see through these plans and the deliberately misleading use of words like ‘fairness’ and ‘balance’ to cushion the blow.”

What appears obvious is that for this experiment to be given chance to work it must be sufficiently resourced.

 

David Healey

Project Support Officer

Websites:  Cabinet Office, the Guardian, NCVO, PCS

Sources:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/open-public-services-white-paper

http://www.guardian.co.uk/voluntary-sector-network/2011/jul/11/public-services-white-paper-voluntary-sector

http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/news/public-services/our-statement-public-services-white-paper

http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/news_centre/index.cfm/id/54FAA7DD-FF6D-4185-9B3FCC719C04517B

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Government announces response to consultation on future changes to child maintenance

On Monday, 11th July the Government published its response to the consultation on the future of child maintenance. Under the new system:

  • The Government wants to support parents to make their own family-based arrangements which are in the best interests of their children
  • Parents will be able to obtain initial information and support on the range of options available to them through a ‘gateway service’
  • Parents can then decide whether to make their own, family-based arrangements, using the help they have received, or to use the new, much improved, child maintenance service, for which there will be a charge – although it will still be heavily subsidised
  • Parents on the lowest incomes will have a heavily discounted upfront charge to join the service
  • Cases involving domestic violence will be fast-tracked directly onto the statutory service and no payment will be required to enter the system. THIS IS GOOD,
  • Parents who fail to pay their maintenance will be pursued with the full range of enforcement tools available, and will face additional penalty charges to help meet the cost paid by the taxpayer of having to fund any enforcement action against them EXCELLENT

Government figures showed that the current child maintenance system is deeply flawed as, “the CSA currently spends over 40 pence for every pound transferred from the non resident parent to the resident parent – this does not represent value for money to the taxpayer.”

These proposals appear to have been welcomed by groups who wanted the present system totally overhauled. Nick Woodall, Director of Policy and Development at of the Centre for Separated Families, announced in a press release:

“’The Government says that fundamental to its approach is the recognition that families need around separation extend beyond issues of financial support such as child maintenance. We believe that this change is long overdue. For too long, family separation has been dealt with as a purely financial issue”. THIS IS SO TRUE

However, in a an early response to the government plans, the UK’s leading children’s charity Barnardo’s demanded that the coalition abandon any proposals to charge collection fees on families receiving benefits or on low incomes. Anne Marie Carrie, Chief Executive of Barnardo’s said:

“Barnardo’s believes that proposed charges to be levied on parents claiming child maintenance are both unreasonable and unfair. Our services work with families who live on just £13 per person per day. Parents in this situation cannot afford to pay these kind of fees that will inevitably cause undue hardship during a time of difficult family breakdown.

“The Government must make take its mandate to better support families living below the breadline. If the welfare of our children is to be paramount, a system must be created that truly meets the needs of those living in poverty.”

Comment

There is an argument to say that parents on low incomes or in receipt of benefits should be treated with the same consideration as those who have suffered domestic violence. There are also concerns that a family in the process of separating and dealing with the adverse effects of the welfare reforms could lead to the family finding it impossible to resolve the situation or successfully part.

David Healey
Project Support

Websites: DWP, Separated Families, Barnardo’s

Sources:

120711/http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2011/jul-2011/dwp082-11.shtml

http://www.separatedfamilies.info/media/press-120711

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/strengthening-families-response.pdf

http://www.barnardos.org.uk/news_and_events/media_centre/press_releases.htm?ref=70629

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