In a leaked letter to the Guardian, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Timms, told Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, John Hutton, that -
'... it might be helpful to clarify the position reached on the funding of the proposals set out in David Freud's report.
‘As the chancellor made clear, it is not possible to develop or pilot a new funding model in the immediate future.'
Hutton welcomed the Freud review as setting out a 'compelling framework for the next stage of welfare reform', Budget 2007 report gave no commitment as to when any greater private and voluntary sector involvement in the provision of employment support may begin.
And Hutton and Murphy were rather cock-a-hoop at the prospect of the voluntary and private sector providers carving up the spoils of Job Centre Plus. And proposed incentives included providers eligible for financial rewards for helping claimants to find and stay in work.
Has the proposal of part-privatisation of Job Centre Plus bitten the dust?
We shall wait and see...
NB: Bad news......New guidance has been issued by the DWP regarding lone parents and work-focused interviews and will come into effect from the 30th April 2007. The main points being:
to be interviewed every six months; and
in certain areas with an only or youngest child aged 11 to 13 to be interviewed quarterly.