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Archive for the ‘THINK TANK – The Ideas Zone….!!!’ Category

Telling it like it is!

Richard Johnson unravells the mystery around the Work Programme…

He says…

“DWP’s Performance report is hopelessly uninformative”

In todays Guardian he has argued that ‘we’.. ‘they’ need to understand the cost of delivering the Work Programme thereby enabling the Commissioner to incentivise, and target assistance at, people furthest from the work place and to track and put a cap on profits.

Richard explains that without data about how many people have started in work and have stayed there, the report provides no meaningful insight into whether the Work Programme is working.

“The only reason we are not allowed to have these in the public domain is because the employment minister, Chris Grayling, has said in meetings with contractors that he does not want to provide Labour with ammunition to beat him up about his programme’s failure, in the same way he used to attack them insisting, in short, on putting his own political position ahead of the lives of hundreds of thousands of unemployed people.

Richard has called for a seismic shift in the approach of the DWP and for it to be a steward of the market place.

Contracts would also have to be flexible, with payment terms periodically reviewed to ensure maximum impact.

Richard also calls for an independent regulator for welfare to work could stand apart from the vested interests of both minister and contractor and be accountable for policing the performance of these programmes.

Read more in the Guardian

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Last week David Milliband presented recommendations from his Commission on Youth Unemployment.

The Report

He has welcomed the introduction of job subsidies under the new Youth Contract, which will come in from April, but called for a boost in the number of these that will be made available to employers.

He recommended setting up Youth Employment Zones in hotspots of worklessness around the country.

The report also majored on self-employment. For recovery to be sustainable, new jobs need to be created by start-up businesses. Unemployed graduates in particular should be encouraged to set up their own businesses.

 

See the full report here

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Unlocking Liverpool: The Deal!

On 8 December 2011 the Government launched ‘Unlocking Growth in Cities’, which set out the terms for a programme of city deals

The Government has now considered the proposals brought forward by Liverpool for a ‘City Deal’ in response to this challenge. The Government recognises it represents an ambitious economic package aimed at driving growth in Liverpool, and that it is an important part of the City’s response to Lord Heseltine and Sir Terry Leahy’s “Rebalancing Britain” report on the Liverpool economy.

The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP has informed the House that the Government has approved the following proposals from Liverpool as a ‘City Deal’:

  • Subject to HM Treasury clearance of a business case and agreement with the Local Enterprise Partnership, the Government will designate a new Enterprise Zone covering the City Fringe Buffer Zone and Central Business District.
  • The creation of what Liverpool propose to term a Mayoral Investment Board that will oversee the city’s economic and housing strategy as well as oversight of the development of Home and Communities Agency’s land assets and other economic development priorities including those linked to the Enterprise and proposed Mayoral Development Zones.
  • The Department for Work and Pensions will work with Liverpool to develop welfare pilots to deliver a localised programme of support for people leaving the Work Programme and in particular include a ‘youth contract’ pathfinder.
  • A Secondary School Investment Plan funded by the Council for up to twelve new build secondary schools, including at least six new academies.
  • The Department for Communities and Local Government will contribute £75 million over the remaining years of the spending review period, subject to a strong, robust business case, to be cleared by HM Treasury, demonstrating clear value for money.
  • The Government set out in ‘Unlocking Growth in Cities’, that where cities want to take on significant new powers and funding streams, they will need to demonstrate strong, accountable leadership, an ambitious agenda for the economic future of their area, effective decision-making structures, and private sector involvement and leadership. The Government can confirm that a move towards a directly elected mayor and the creation of a Mayoral Development Corporation would satisfy its requirements as regards governance arrangements to strengthen leadership and accountability in Liverpool City Council.

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Richmond Council presents controversial report on housing

A points system for benefits claimants is being looked at by Richmond Council as part of their response to welfare reform.

Richmond Council set up a task force which produced a report addressing how  homelessness could be addressed in the context of government cuts.

The report suggests

  • The council should seek early notification of how changes to benefits will occur under the Universal benefit system so they can prepare for any impact on people living in the borough.
  • Systems should be put in place ensure councillors are aware of the national housing benefits changes and can assist constituents,
  • Frontline service staff should be able to signpost residents to appropriate advice services such as citizens advice.

Richmond Council has started to develop a homelessness strategy for 2012-16.

The council will also seek to work with other boroughs to increase the availability of bed and breakfast and temporary accommodation to deal with an expected increase in homelessness this year.

More controversially it will look at

  • Benefits points dependant on community contribution,
  • Levels of housing debt the benefit claimant has,
  • Engagement with the community about the importance of affordable housing

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Liam Byrne tells us whats going on…..

Labour’s Policy Review: THE NEW CENTRE-GROUND
Across the country, local Labour parties are now debating reports on our first year’s work on the policy review – you can get hold of copies here.
To help the debate, I’ve written a new pamphlet for Progress – here’s the link – setting out a few of the key ideas which are emerging centre-stage – both for us in the UK, and for progressive parties around the world.

My article setting out the argument is in this month’s edition of Progress. Here’s the link
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IN PARLIAMENT
Our argument with the government on their welfare changes came to a head in Parliament last week, with a major 7 hour debate on Wednesday.

We want welfare-to-work – but that needs jobs; and the government aren’t helping create enough of them.

Worse, I believe the welfare reform bill crosses a basic line of decency axing, support for patients still recovering from cancer, and young people with disabilities. The government has tried to make the big argument about a cap on benefits; actually we agree with a cap – but we want a cap that doesn’t backfire. Here’s the link to my Telegraph article.
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.IN HODGE HILL
Finally, and most important in Hodge Hill our campaign to get young people back to work is gathering pace.
After securing £167 milllion of new investment over the last 6 years – in new health centres, schools, classrooms, libraries and homes (you can see a map here), and creating a new constituency-wide Community Interest Community to help our local social entreprenuers – our total focus this year is on jobs.

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We’ll hold a major summit for local businesses shortly, to ask what more they can do to help – and we’ll be bringing our young people together to help with job search shortly thereafter. Let me know if you can help!
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Yesterday, I spent the morning with Mayor Robin Wales in Newham , who is pioneering radical new ways of putting the Council’s muscle behind the crucial task of getting people into jobs. That’s the kind of approach I’ll be calling for in Birmingham.
As ever, keen on views on any and all of this!

Best wishes

Liam Byrne MP

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Help the Unemployed become self employed…. Enterprise clubs

More needs to be done to encourage and help unemployed people to see self-employment as a viable route off benefits and into financial independence.

On 31 January 2011, the Minister for Employment announced the launch of Enterprise Clubs which is targeted at unemployed people interested in self-employment

The main aim of Enterprise Clubs is to help people make the most of local knowledge and resources to help unemployed people in their communities set themselves up as self-employed or start their own business.

They will empower local communities and encourage people to work together to offer additional support to unemployed people who are interested in becoming self-employed. They will also help local communities to become more prosperous by encouraging private sector growth.

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Volunteers prevented from volunteering

Charities are becoming increasingly concerned that they are losing volunteer at an alarming rate.

More and more volunteers are been placed onto the Work programme where providers seem to be disregarding the volunteering and valuable work experinece they are alredy getting.

Volunteers are being placed by providers onto work related activities which invariably is not as useful or indeed as relevant as the existing work that they were doing whilst volunteering.

Charites are asking the government and providers to review this and to arrive at a viable and commonse approach which dovetails neatly into the Big Society objective of encouraging volunteering whicls supporting job seeking and building up relevant experience.

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