The Partnership Manager for the DWP (Graham Metcalfe) will be in attendance to give an explanation of Universal Credit, and other projects that the DWP are working on.
A presentation was given to the Panel by the Partnership Manager for the Department for Work and Pensions, which included details on the scope of Universal Credit and current projects.
The Universal Credit presentation included information and data regarding:
· Employment Rate;
· Moving Disabled People into Work;
· Black Minority Ethnic (BME) employment rates;
· Older Workers;
· Gender gap employment rate;
· Universal Credit claimants;
· New style Jobseekers Allowance;
· Youth Unemployment.
The following projects were discussed:
· A redundancy toolkit had been created which combined support available to businesses and employees who faced potential redundancy. This had been created by a partnership of agencies led by the Chamber of Commerce Federation of Small Businesses. DWP received indicators through the insolvency service regarding likelihood of redundancies of more than 20 employees. None had been received in the last 3 months throughout Lincolnshire.
· The Kick Start scheme was a significant response to Youth Unemployment which was still available to young people and businesses. Most had been developmental roles. Applications could still be accommodated.
· The Restart Programme engaged people who had been unemployed for at least 12 months.
· Short Intervention Training Programme fulfilled specific employer needs and enhanced employability of potential applicants through the utilisation of short certification. Funding from this scheme accommodated opportunities.
· The local DWP was involved in a pilot scheme which related to LGV shortages. Full assessment had not yet been published but indicators recommended the utilisation of funding streams; and identified pathways for return to the sector such as funded certifications. Frustrations had existed from process delays caused by Covid.
· On-line jobs fairs had been effective during the Covid period.
Members thanked the Partnership Manager for the DWP for attending and made the following comments:
· Members requested contact details for the Partnership Manager in case of future queries, and it was confirmed the these could be provided.
· Members requested reassurance that all people, including those who lived on the outskirts of the district who needed to look for work outside of district boundaries(such as Peterborough, Wisbech and Kings Lynn) were supported. The issue of inadequate public transport into Spalding was also highlighted.
o The Partnership Manager DWP confirmed that support was not limited by boundaries. All opportunities would be considered. DWP obtained and presented comprehensive details from employers which enabled customers to make informed choices, including regarding commute.
o Where there had been staff shortages, wider opportunities were experienced where employers had increased flexibilities regarding shift patterns and transport provision.
o Online recruitment driven by employment agencies, direct adverts and social media, had assisted in providing wider access to opportunities which were not limited by physical boundaries. Those with the capacity to travel widely were being facilitated.
· Members expressed the need for opportunities across the whole district, not just in Spalding. Concerns were raised about long commutes and the related carbon footprint impact. Shorter journey times were preferred.
o The Partnership Manager DWP confirmed that DWP were receptive and available to all and would relay all offers that employers made whilst practicing due diligence around exploitation and coercion risks.
The Chairman thanked the Partnership Manager for the DWP for his presentation.