Greater Manchester has launched the UK’s first locally controlled Work and Health Programme, which aims to support long term unemployed and disabled people into employment across the city-region.
Greater Manchester is the first in the UK to take control of its own budget in commissioning and managing its Work and Health Programme, devolved from the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP).
An additional 10,000 people will be supported on the programme after Greater Manchester Leaders successfully applied to the European Social Fund to match the Work and Health Programme budget. Between 2018 and 2024, the £52 million programme will provide support to more than 22,000 individuals across Greater Manchester.
The fully integrated programme includes the appointment of a dedicated key worker to provide an expert single point of contact and support each participant out of work due to poor health or disability on their journey back into sustainable employment.
Greater Manchester’s Work and Health Programme is built on the principles of its Working Well programmes, which have run since 2014.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said:
“Greater Manchester is a place that always looks to support those who have fallen through the gaps in our society. We are committed to making sure everyone in our city-region has the chance to get on in life and this programme is a key part of that commitment.
“We’ve designed this programme locally to make sure that everyone who enters this programme in Greater Manchester will have their own specific needs taken in to account. The Work and Health Programme will ensure that people who are out of work receive individually tailored help from their own dedicated key worker to support them on their journey back in to work.
“The devolution of the Work and Health programme is a major milestone in Greater Manchester’s journey and I’m confident that through it we’ll show that solutions created in Greater Manchester work best for Greater Manchester.”
Greater Manchester Combined Authority Lead for Skills, Employment and Apprenticeships, Councillor Sean Anstee said:
“This is a landmark moment for our city region that will have a huge difference on the lives of those people who really want to get back in to work. When we negotiated devolution of this Work and Health programme combined with our health devolution deal, it was done so we could do things like this – bring together support from across the public sector to help those who just want to get on in life and support their families.
“We cannot underestimate how supporting people in to employment improves self-esteem and reduces the number of children growing up in families where no parent works at the same time as promoting independence and contributing to our growing economy.”
Both the national Work and Health Programme and the Working Well Programme are part of a new Personal Support Package for people with health conditions and disabilities, supporting the UK Government’s commitment to improve employment outcomes for disabled people, and the goal to see 1 million more disabled people into work over the next 10 years.
The programme is available on a voluntary basis to those with health conditions or disabilities and other specified groups. The programme has therefore been designed to most effectively support these individuals in their journey to sustainable employment through access to a range of support services that will help address specific barriers and challenges, and improve quality of life.
The programme will offer participants a maximum of 21 months of support, consisting of up to 15 months on programme support and up to a further 6 months of support once participants start a job. Once in work, participants will have a dedicated in-work advisor who will help create a tailored work plan focusing on wage, work and personal progression.
European Social Fund
The project is receiving up to £22.7m of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.