The employment services market has suddenly shifted. Pre-March 2020, the sector contained jobseekers, many of whom were not job ready and a fairly long way from the employment market. In Autumn 2020, we will be looking at very large volumes of broadly job ready jobseekers, who may need some retraining. These jobseekers will be, for the most part, digitally capable and have access to a digital device. The level of handholding they will require will be far less than pre-March 2020, and they will want to be engaged with and in control of their job search.
Couple this with the physical challenges we now face, including how long social distancing will last (no one knows) and the nature of a competitive and high challenging market that can very easily demotivate even the most job ready of jobseekers, and you can clearly see why the Government is asking employability providers to come up with a different way of delivering employability.
The Government’s Commercial Agreement for the provision of Employment and Health Related Services (CAEHRS), sets out a framework to support people back into sustainable employment. The key features are:
- £7.5bn will be allocated (£1.5bn of which is allocated to Scotland)
- There are 7 regional and 1 national lot.
- Providers can bid for regional lots initially and will only be accepted to bid for the national lot if they have been accepted for at least two regional lots and they satisfy other criteria
- Providers cannot just apply for the national lot.
- There are 3 tiers for submission of application
- Tier 1 – minimum volume of £11m. There will be 8 providers max in this tier.
- Tier 2 – £2m – £11m. There will be 9 providers max in this tier.
- Tier 3 – details yet to be announced
Please note: If you get accepted for Tier 2, and a space becomes available in Tier 1, you can be considered for Tier 1 if you meet the financial criteria. If you apply for Tier 1 you may be offered a place on Tier 2. If you apply for Tier 2, you will not be offered a space on Tier 1.
- The Bid is split into two sections:
- Financial standing and how you propose to deliver.
- Technical response.
It is important to note that CAEHRS is not just a DWP contract. There are many other departments and Government partners involved, so this is a much wider opportunity.
Key themes were noted by webinar speakers and participants:
- There is clear indication from the DWP that they want to integrate and align services in each region, to deliver the best value for the tax payer. Services should be joined up to prevent duplication and give a better experience for the end-user.
- There are partnership opportunities to deliver end-to-end services. However these do not need to be in place and signed off within the next four weeks. This is the beginning, not the end of these conversations.
- Large providers need to engage with Housing Associations during this period.
- Options for co-location need to be explored.
- Within the bid submission, DWP need to know what providers are intending to do, backed up by figures that support prior experience and delivery in this field. Whilst providers don’t have to have delivered identical services in the past, they need to outline what experience that have and the approach they would take. They should also record what Stakeholder relationships are already in place.
- Providers will be expected to have a digital solution, befitting the nature of their digitally capable jobseekers.
- A case management solution, that simply involves the provider logging what the jobseeker is doing, is very limiting and not suitable for a market of high-volume, job-ready jobseekers who wish to engage in their job search.
- It’s a fact that when jobseekers and their provider are both given the tools to interact, are given tracking information, and are provided with insights to aid the job search, the results are significantly better.
- Providers will be expected to demonstrate that they are capable of handling Government contracts.