Policy Statements and Initiatives
DWP: Around 2.5m people are expected to be supported through the new Work Programme over the next 5 years, Employment Minister Chris Grayling said recently, as the programme rolls out across the country. Ministers are clear that the Work Programme will tackle the human consequences of endemic worklessness.
Under the new programme providers are free to innovate & design support based on the needs of jobseekers and local labour markets. The Government’s priority is to get people into employment that lasts. In what is a boost to the Big Society, 508 voluntary sector groups including Mencap, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, youth charity The Prince’s Trust and Action for Blind People will all be involved in delivering the Work Programme.
DECC: Smaller gas & electricity suppliers will benefit from a cut in red tape in time for next year, Energy Minister Charles Hendry announced this week. Firms with 250,000 customers or fewer will not have to take part in two government programmes - the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP). This follows a consultation which originally proposed a threshold of 100,000 customers.
Previously suppliers with as few as 50,000 customers were obliged to participate. Participating in these schemes placed a disproportionate burden on small suppliers, acting as a barrier to market entry and reducing incentives to grow.
CLG: Planning Minister, Greg Clark, recently outlined more support for voluntary & community groups campaigning to save much-loved local assets such as historic pubs, seaside piers or precious market halls, under threat when their owners refuse to sell.
A compulsory purchase order by a council and future development as a community asset can often be the ideal solution. In revised guidance, Greg Clark calls on local authorities to take seriously all viable requests from voluntary & community groups put to them for the compulsory purchase of a threatened community asset.
CLG: Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, has launched plans to give tenants greater support to hold their landlords to account. The Minister argued that new locally-run tenant panels will put power back into the hands of residents, helping them to build the Big Society in their neighbourhoods.
Mr Shapps announced plans for an £535,000 residential training programme, to give tenants the confidence & skills they need to sit on tenant panels so they can represent their neighbours & resolve local disputes such as making sure repairs are made efficiently, and that complaints against anti-social behaviour are dealt with quickly. He has launched a mini-competition for charities & benevolent societies to bid to offer the training needed.