The Government have previously announced their plans for radical reforms of the welfare to work system, starting with the nationwide implementation of the Work programme by the summer of 2011.
Until the Work programme is implemented in June 2011, DWP’s top priority is to ensure that claimants are properly supported during the transition. I am therefore pleased to announce we intend to extend referrals to existing mainstream support for jobseekers (new deals and flexible new deal) until June 2011.
Jobseekers referred to existing contracts up to this point will receive a minimum 13 weeks provision and will subsequently be able to volunteer for early entry to the Work programme.
We will also be extending progress2work contracts, taking into consideration current performance when agreeing the extensions.
We will also be putting in place a new system of flexible and personalised support for ESA claimants to cover the interim period.
As current support is a patchwork of contracts, across different dates and contract areas, transition arrangements will inevitably need to be tailored to local circumstances. However, the contract extensions we are aiming to agree will mean nobody will be unsupported in the transition to the Work programme.