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Voluntary sector organisations for Work Programme - 08-04-2011

Employment Minister Chris Grayling has announced a big boost for the Big Society with almost 300 voluntary sector organisations are to be part of a massive national programme to tackle long term benefit dependency.

Voluntary sector groups such as Mencap, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, the Prince’s Trust and Action for Blind People are all going to be involved in delivering the Work Programme.

The Work Programme is the next step in the Government's radical welfare plans, and will provide a completely new approach to supporting people back to work.

The 18 private and voluntary sector organisations named as preferred bidders today will get the freedom to design support that actually works, rather than having to do what's prescribed by Whitehall. In return providers will be paid by results - with more for those who get the hardest to help off benefits and into work.

Launching the Work Programme at a visit to Action Acton, a West London charity named as one of the successful sub contractors, Chris Grayling said:

"This is a radical change to the way we deliver back to work support in this country. For the first time those charities and voluntary sector organisations across the country with the know how to help people with real difficulties in their communities get back to work are being given the chance to do just that.

"Millions of people on out of work benefits who have previously been shunted from dole queue to training room to dole queue again will finally be able to access support that's built around their needs."

The organisations named today will be paid through the benefit savings made from the people they help get back to work – the first time such an approach has been tried on such a large scale. Over the course of the seven years the contracts will run, the total value is likely to be between £3bn - £5bn.

In the first two years the Work Programme is expected to help around a million people, making it the largest single welfare to work programme this country has ever seen. However, the Programme is effectively uncapped which means if more people need the tailor made support the Programme offers – they will receive it.

The organisations named as preferred bidders will now go onto contract signing and the Programme will begin in June when the first customers are referred from Jobcentre Plus.

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