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Spring Statement 2018: Sector Response
March 14, 2018

The Chancellor has presented his first Spring Statement to Parliament.

The Spring Statement gives people and businesses certainty and stability to plan for the future. Major tax or spending changes will now be made once a year at the Budget in the Autumn.

The Spring Statement:

  • gives an update on the overall health of the economy and the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts
  • gives an update on progress made since Autumn Budget 2017
  • invites people and businesses to give views on changes the government is considering

Read The Sector Response Here

Employers Named for Underpaying Thousands of Minimum Wage Worker
March 9, 2018

The government has named and shamed nearly 180 employers for underpaying more than 9,000 minimum wage workers by £1.1 million.

As well as recovering backpay for 9,200 workers, the government also fined the employers a total of £1.3 million in penalties for breaking national minimum wage laws. The most prolific offending sectors in this round were retailers, hospitality businesses and hairdressers.

It comes ahead of the next rate rise on 1 April, when the National Living Wage will go up from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour. Apprentices under the age of 19 and those in the first year of their apprenticeship will benefit from a record 5.7% rise.

Later this month the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will launch a campaign to raise awareness of the new rates and encourage workers to speak to their employer if they think they are being underpaid. Read more

Attorney General Speech at the Modern Slavery Summit
February 23, 2018

Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP gives keynote speech at the Crown Prosecution Service Modern Slavery Summit – 22nd February 2018. The following is a transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered.

Thank you very much for inviting me to speak to you this morning. Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to pass on my thanks to the CPS for organising and hosting this important summit on prosecuting Modern Slavery crimes.

On behalf of the UK Government may I also pass on a very warm welcome to you all. Many of you have travelled a long way to be here, and I hope this summit will be an important step in improving international dialogue and combatting the crimes of forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking.

As we are all very well aware, modern slavery exists in all our societies. It respects neither borders nor jurisdictions and its victims are subject to the most appalling mistreatment and exploitation, this brings our task at this summit into sharp focus.

I know you will be looking at identifying ways to better support victims and witnesses, and establishing a strong, active international network to tackle Modern Slavery.

In the last 8 years, the UK has clearly demonstrated that with the right will and mind-set it is possible to transform our approach to Modern Slavery.

The then Home Secretary, and current Prime Minister, identified modern slavery as a significant problem, and since then this Government has put in place an ambitious strategy and dedicated legislation to tackle it.

Prior to 2010, there was no bespoke legislation and the law enforcement response was not sufficiently coordinated or effective to deal with this type of offending.

Read more

Prime Minister Launches Major Review of Post-18 Education
February 19, 2018

Driving up quality, increasing choice and ensuring value for money are at the heart of a major review of post-18 education, launched by the Prime Minister today (19 February).

The UK already has a globally recognised higher education system, with record rates of young people, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, going to university. Work is also underway to transform technical education post-16 by introducing new T levels – providing high quality technical qualifications to rival traditional academic options – and overhauling apprenticeships to help provide the skills our economy needs for the future.

Although significant progress has been made, it is clear that the current post-18 system is not working as well as it could be – for young people or for the country. The review will ensure that post-18 education is giving everyone a genuine choice between high quality technical, vocational and academic routes, students and taxpayers are getting value for money and employers can access the skilled workforce they need. Read more

Jobcentre Plus: Opportunities for Public and Voluntary Organisations
January 12, 2018

Opportunities for public and voluntary organisations to help Jobcentre Plus move people off benefits and into employment.

Jobcentre Plus wants to work with local public and voluntary organisations that will help unemployed people move off benefits and into employment. Some opportunities focus on specific measures or specific groups.

If you want to discuss how your organisation can work with Jobcentre Plus to help people back into work, you can contact your nearest Jobcentre Plus District Manager.

Interesting Government Announcements
January 5, 2018

Following last month’s Industrial Strategy we thought we would highlight a couple of interesting announcements.

Government announced a new National Retraining Partnership which to the casual observer looks like a very European-style social partnership with government entering into a formal skills partnership with the TUC and CBI, to develop the National Retraining Scheme. Together they will help set the strategic priorities and will work with new Skills Advisory Panels to ensure that local economies’ needs are reflected. The construction and digital sectors will be prioritised and given our regions need for the former (we have an ageing workforce and major growth forecast) and the new digital jobs developments this is interesting news and just how it works in practice will be worth watching. As a start the government will invest £30 million to test the use of Artificial intelligence and innovative EdTech in online digital skills courses.  There will also be new employer-designed courses in construction and digital. Read more

Government Sets Out Plan to See More Disabled People in Work
November 30, 2017


The government will help to get more disabled people into work in the next decade, the Prime Minister said today, as a new strategy is launched to break down employment barriers.

Working with industry, government will be taking further steps to help disabled people and people with health conditions get into work, and remain and progress in their roles. These include new measures such as widening ‘fit note’ certification and providing dedicated training for work coaches to support people with mental health conditions.

The strategy, called ‘Improving Lives: the Future of Work, Health and Disability’, builds on last year’s Work, Health and Disability Green Paper, which called for a comprehensive change to the UK’s approach to disability employment.

It sets out the steps government will take to transform disability employment over the next decade and progress so far as we build a country fit for the future. This includes:

  1. Read more
Government Unveils Industrial Strategy
November 27, 2017


Business Secretary Greg Clark has today (27 November 2017) launched the government’s ambitious Industrial Strategy, setting out a long-term vision for how Britain can build on its economic strengths, address its productivity performance, embrace technological change and boost the earning power of people across the UK.

Key headlines are:

  • Business Secretary launches flagship Industrial Strategy for the UK today with a plan to boost the economy, build on the country’s strengths and embrace the opportunities of technological change
  • Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will invest £725 million in new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund programmes to capture the value of innovation
  • launch of the Industrial Strategy comes as government announces it has secured a major strategic investment into UK by world leading life sciences company MSD
  • first ‘Sector Deals’ – construction, artificial intelligence (AI), automotive and life sciences – to help sectors grow and equip businesses for future opportunities
  • 4 ‘Grand Challenges’ which will take advantage of global trends to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future

In the strategy, the government has identified 4 Grand Challenges; global trends that will shape our rapidly changing future and which the UK must embrace to ensure we harness all the opportunities they bring. The 4 are:

Full Education Select Committee Line-Up Confirmed
September 13, 2017

The full membership of the House of Commons education committee has been confirmed.

Five Conservative MPs, five Labour MPs and one Scottish National Party MP will serve under the chairship of Robert Halfon, the former skills minister.

The committee holds the government and its regulators, like Ofsted and Ofqual, to account on policy, administration and spending.

In recent years, it has held inquiries into multi-academy trusts, regional schools commissioners, primary testing, school funding and the supply of teachers.

Labour announced before the summer that former shadow education secretary Lucy Powell would join committee veteran Ian Mearns and Westminster newbies Emma Hardy, Thelma Walker and James Frith as its representatives on the committee.

Read more

Government Outlines Single Awarding Organisation Plan for Prisons
August 29, 2017

The Ministry of Justice intends to appoint single awarding organisations for seven areas of study, it has announced on the government tendering website.

The areas of study are to be English, ESOL, maths, ICT, catering and hospitality, construction, and cleaning and facilities, which between them it claims cover 42 per cent of its learning delivery. These, the MoJ says, are the curriculum areas which are studied by the largest numbers of prisoners and are most likely to be qualification bearing.

The initial approach to market will officially be opened on September 21, and the contract will run for a total of four years, from 1st August 2018 until 31st July 2022.

The MoJ says it “will not directly pay for the services provided by the selected awarding organisations, but instead mandate the use of particular qualifications for successor education providers.”

A “market engagement” event to outline the plan took place for interested awarding organisations earlier this month. In a presentation made at the event, bid returns are expected by 20th October, with the contract awarded on 3rd November.

The procurement appears to follow the Coates Review into prison education in May last year, in which Dame Sally Coates criticised existing provision.

“Currently there is too much variation between the requirements of different awarding bodies,” she wrote.

Read more

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