The 2 cities will receive around £100 million to develop, procure and deliver localised versions of the new Work and Health Programme to fit the needs of their residents.
In the last 3 years, the number of disabled people in work has increased by almost 600,000. However, the gap between the employment rates of disabled people and non-disabled people remains too large at 32%.
By devolving these powers, participants – including homeless people and long-term unemployed people – will receive more intense, tailored support based on local expertise that will give them the best chance to move into long-term employment.
Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green said:
This is a significant step to help thousands of disabled and vulnerable people get the support they need to move away from benefits and find lasting work.
Good work has huge benefits for physical and mental health and we are committed to helping all those people who can work to find work.
By devolving powers we are sending our clearest message yet that we are serious about making changes for the better, and believe this can be found in the expertise of local providers who know their residents best.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
I am delighted that funding and responsibility for the new Work and Health Programme is to be devolved to London government.
This is a great example of how we can put party politics aside and work closely with the national government in the best interests of all Londoners.
Delivering this programme at a local level will result in greater integration of employment support with other local services. This will lead to better outcomes for Londoners, with those who need support receiving it at the right time.
Councillor Sean Anstee, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Lead Member for Skills and Employment said:
In Greater Manchester we know that when we create local solutions to help people back in to work they are much more effective. Through intensive, tailored support from local key workers our Working Well programme has helped people right across our city-region get back in to the workplace.
These new devolved powers will help us expand Working Well and make a real difference to people’s lives. More people will now get the support they need to find a job and be successful in Greater Manchester.
Chair of London Councils, Councillor Claire Kober, said:
This is a significant moment in London’s call for further devolution and gives us the opportunity to create local schemes better tailored to meet Londoners’ needs. Boroughs – who can already demonstrate significant success in this area – are delighted to be able to get on with the important job of helping residents with complex needs back into the workplace.
Devolving powers to London and Greater Manchester is the latest in a series of steps taken by the government to strengthen local support for disabled people.
The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper is currently seeking views from disabled people, stakeholders and the public.
It includes a new Personal Support Package that will recruit around 200 Community Partners around the country into Jobcentre Plus, and extend ‘Journey to Employment’ job clubs to 71 Jobcentre Plus areas with the highest number of people receiving Employment and Support Allowance with limited capability for work.
In addition, the number of Disability Employment Advisors to provide specialist and local expertise in jobcentres will be increased to around 500 nationally.
The Work and Health Programme will start from late 2017 in England and Wales. In line with the Scotland Act, employment support for the long term unemployed and disabled people are to be devolved to the Scottish Government.
Over the life of the contract current estimates are that DWP would devolve around £72 million to London and around £28 million to Greater Manchester, subject to Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT) approval.
The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper closes on 17 February 2017.