Review welfare-to-work model, Government urged

CSV says small organisations providing back-to-work services for the Department for Work and Pensions are missing out on funding

Volunteer and training charity Community Service Volunteers has called on the Department for Work and Pensions to review its welfare-to-work model because the use of large private contractors is forcing community-based employment organisations out of existence, it claims.

In a letter written to work and pensions secretary James Purnell last week, Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, executive director of CSV, says the DWP's contracting model for back-to-work services, which involves awarding a small number of large contracts, is causing small organisations to miss out on funding.

"The DWP's preference for managing a small number of large contracts is leading to the demise of many community-based agencies," said Hoodless in her letter. "As a consequence, we are losing easy-to-reach premises where unemployed citizens know positive support will be available.

"The funding on offer, having been significantly top-sliced by the contract holder, is insufficient to provide adequate training and support to jobseekers."

The letter, seen by Third Sector, cites former employment charity Instant Muscle and youth employment charity Weston Spirit as examples of local organisations that fell into administration.

Hoodless told Third Sector that community-based organisations were better placed to train and match people to jobs because they were closer to the local labour market.

Tim Robinson, national development manager for CSV's training and enterprise unit, said: "There is uncertainty among community-based agencies about financial provision at a crucial time when there are a large number of jobseekers and fewer vacancies."

The DWP declined to comment on the contents of the letter.

Sarah Townsend recommends

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