Headlines: July 30th, 2010

Employment charity Shaw Trust is the preferred bidder for 16 of 28 government contracts to provide employment support to disabled people.

If confirmed, the contracts mean the charity would more than treble the number of people it supports, from around 3000 to over 9000.

The contracts are for the new Work Choice programme, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) replacement for the Workstep and Work preparation schemes.

Work Choice is designed for disabled people who are furthest away from the labour market, or who need to have support while in work.

Shaw Trust will also be providing support and services in another six regions as sub-contractor.

Sally Burton, chief executive at the Shaw Trust, said: “Work is an important part of people’s lives and everyone has the right to work.

“The delivery model for Work Choice is a great example of the third sector working at the heart of local communities; the client works towards personal and financial objectives and in addition, by giving clients the support that they need to work, there is a longer-term reduction in state benefits and healthcare costs.

“We understand the challenges facing clients and employers and this enables us to truly support all parties through the programme.”

Work Choice will go live in October and is intended more flexible than previous programmes, offering extra services. It has been designed around three modules: to help people with more complex support needs to find work; to support disabled people and their employers in work; and to facilitate ongoing development throughout the employee’s career.