ERSA, the trade body for the welfare to work industry, makes several recommendations in the plan, including: urgent action to increase Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) referrals, better communication through supply chains about referral numbers and support by voluntary sector representative bodies to help their membership meet requirements of welfare to work commissioning.
Speaking at ERSA's annual conference in London, attended by over 250 delegates, chief executive, Kirsty McHugh said:
"There has been much coverage in recent weeks about how the voluntary sector is faring under the Work Programme. Our membership, half of which is from the voluntary sector, is telling us that this is a complicated issue and that there is also much good practice. Many concerns emanate from the speed and nature of the procurement process, which puts pressure on all parties, and more recently the lack of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) referrals to the Work Programme, a disproportionate number of which would normally go to voluntary sector suppliers because of their specialist skills.
"ERSA is working to ensure that the entire industry takes positive steps to strengthen and streamline supply chain processes and communication to jobseekers. This is why we are today unveiling our Supply Chain Ten Point Plan and calling on government, prime contractors and voluntary sector umbrella organisations to work with us to make this a reality."
For more information about ERSA's ten point plan, click here