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Conservatives Reform Ideas

In an interview with the Financial Times, Theresa May has shared some of the Conservative vision for welfare to work provision. There are no actual plans at the moment - these will be published later in the year to give providers a clear guide as to what to expect.

The headlines are a tad misleading, as there is little new in what Theresa May has said:
  • fND Phase 2 contracts that have not been signed are likely to be changed to bring in the Conservative reforms at the earliest opportunity.
  • they want lower upfront payment – as this was only increased due to the recession in fND Phase 1 this is nothing really new. However, it is unclear if the Conservatives wish to go below the pre-recession upfront payment level.
  • the emphasis will be on the outcome rather than the process – pretty much how fND is funded. However, one potential change which could have a big impact is changing the definition of a sustainable job to 52 weeks. This would have a significant impact on not only the level of funding but the cost to providers of maintaining contact and a delay in receiving full funding.
Other potential changes include extending the period of time the providers will be given to work with clients.
The Conservatives will obviously look at all of the contracts in place IF they win the election. This should be expected and doesn't mean there will be wholesale reform, but this could depend on how water-tight the DWP contracts are!
The debate is likely to heat up in the autumn when fND delivery actually starts. If it is successful (which we all hope it will be) then its future could be assured. If it isn’t successful ... well ... time will tell!

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