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More Than Four in 10 Businesses Could Phase-out Contractors Due to IR35

New research reveals that as many as four in ten businesses (41pc) will review their strategy around contractors come April 2020 when IR35 is introduced.

The survey from bedigitaluk.com is part of ongoing study into the way that British businesses are preparing for the IR35 legislation. Off-payroll rules are being brought in to combat tax avoidance caused by workers supplying services to clients through an ‘intermediary’.

Out of the 1,500 British business owners surveyed, just under two thirds (65pc) were aware of the IR35 legislation and have a plan set to deal with the law changes. After being informed on what IR35 is, 41pc said they will look to review their strategy for procuring contractors into their businesses. Just over one in ten (11pc) said that they would take more drastic action by decreasing contractor numbers, having a potentially damaging effect on critical projects.

When asked if they’d switched to outcome-based ‘statement of work’ (SoW) contracts, only one in five businesses had done so. Though it’s not that simple – 45pc of businesses admitted to being confused around what action to take next.

Which sectors are struggling the most with IR35?

Those operating within the construction sector were most confused by the incoming legislation. We’ve got a breakdown of the top five:

SectorPercentage (pc)
Hair and beauty48pc
Food service43pc

Only 32pc of businesses felt IR35 is a positive step in ensuring fair pay and tax implementation on UK contractors.

Richard Tyler, a spokesperson for www.bedigitaluk.com, commented:

“The results of this research clearly highlight the need for businesses to gain a much broader understanding of what the upcoming IR35 means, and how it will affect their company finances.

“Whilst the new off-payroll rules present a level of risk to businesses in the short-term, acquiring services using outcome-based SoW’s is a sensible way of reducing risk. However, if businesses do not adequately prepare for the changes, it may quickly create unexpected costs and issues”.

IR35 review

The news of a six-week government review into IR35 has not impressed the experts.

Julia Kermode, chief executive of The Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA), said: “This seems to be another meaningless review from a government who seems intent on bulldozing ahead with its plans anyway.

“We have also learned today that the review will focus on the implementation of the reforms rather than the reforms themselves, which is not what was suggested and is not what is needed. I fear that [the] pledge is simply the government paying lip-service to empty election promises and nothing short of an insult.”

Gender Pay Gap Impacting Attraction and Retention of Talent

As gender pay gap progress continues to be slow, organisations are feeling the effects on their ability to attract and retain key talent, according to a report from Hays.

Over a quarter (27%) of employers said they are aware of a gender pay gap in their organisation and that this negatively affecting staff attraction and retention. 

The Hays Salary & Recruiting Trends 2020 guide found that, among employers who are aware of a gender pay gap, 59% said it is negatively affecting their ability to attract talent, and 61% said it is negatively impacting staff retention.

Employers in London were more likely to be aware of a gender pay gap in their organisation than those in other regions of the UK, with over a third (35%) saying they were aware of this.

Employers also cited facing challenges finding the right talent, with almost two-thirds (65%) saying they expect to encounter a shortage of suitable applicants when recruiting in 2020.

The research also looked at employees’ views on the gender pay gap. 

It found that almost one in five (19%) employees said they are aware of a gender pay gap within their organisation. Of these employees aware of a gap, 80% said it was an issue for them and almost a fifth (18%) said it is enough of an issue that they will leave their organisation or are considering leaving as a result.

Additionally, nearly three-quarters of employees (74%) said it was important that their organisation is transparent about how pay levels are set, yet two-fifths (41%) of employers say their organisation isn’t consistent with all employees about how salary rises are awarded.

Women are more likely than men to say they are aware of a gender pay gap at their organisation (22% compared to 16%). Of those who are aware of a gap, 87% of women consider it an issue compared to 70% of men.

The full time gender pay gap rose three percentage points to 8.9% in April 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Simon Winfield, managing director of Hays UK & Ireland, said that employers can no longer afford to ignore the impact of the gender pay gap on their organisations: “Transparency around pay is clearly becoming important for professionals, many of whom also perceive there to be gender pay gaps, which is negatively impacting on the attraction and retention of staff.” 

He added that employers should be transparent in their approach, and regularly assess how pay is awarded.

“Transparency can help to narrow pay gaps between genders, so put into action practical steps, such as having clear promotion and pay structures, as well as setting and publishing pay levels,” he said.

“Assessing the pay needs of your team on an ongoing basis and being transparent about how pay levels and rises are set can help address salary requirements before it’s too late. Pay shouldn’t be the taboo subject it once was.”

The survey was conducted in Summer 2019 and received 31,598 responses. 11,047 of the respondents were employers and 20,551 were employees.

‘Alexa, Help Me Get a Job at McDonald’s…’

McDonald’s has launched the world’s first voice application process, to help attract curious but time-poor candidates from all walks of life.

The following article is by Harriet Hounsell, chief people officer at McDonald’s UK

We are a restaurant business, but we are also a people business. We have

more than 120,000 employees, and every day they welcome almost four million people into our branches up and down the country. Over the past few years roles in our restaurants have changed – our self-order screens have freed up our people from behind the counter to focus on hospitality. We’re employing more people, from all backgrounds and all life stages, but in slightly different roles.

Used in the right way, we’ve found that technology can be both an enabler for current employees and a way to attract and recruit new staff. It can also help simplify the job application process.

Research from CareerBuilder found that 60% of jobseekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity. Jobsite Indeed also found that the average application form can include a vast 63 screening questions. As employers we should not be creating barriers for prospective employees and the application process should reflect the brand or business they are applying to. For us that means the process should be quick, convenient and fun.

So we are launching the world’s first voice-initiated job application process, giving candidates the ability to start their application simply by saying ‘Alexa, help me get a job at McDonald’s.’ Users will jump-start their application by answering a few basic questions including their name, job area of interest and location. Potential applicants will then receive a short text message with a link to continue their application process.

This isn’t about simplicity for the sake of it. There is a business imperative behind making it easier to attract younger time-poor recruits; they help to foster diversity in the workplace and have the potential to refresh old ways of working. We must be ready for Generation Z – those aged 16 to 24 and the first fully-digital generation – who are finishing their education and joining the workforce.

Voice assistants have more than seven million daily users in the UK, according to Deloitte. So we think they’re a fun and powerful way to reach candidates from all walks of life – whether they’re looking for their first job or to return to the workplace after a career break. The fastest growth in users is actually among 55- to 75-year-olds, who are using voice assistants on a daily basis to do things like getting weather updates or playing music. By utilising Alexa and Google Assistant we will be reaching an audience who might not have previously thought about a job at McDonald’s.

Regardless of background, we hope this initiative encourages people to get in touch about a wide variety of roles in our 1,270 restaurants across the UK and Ireland. We believe it’s important to look at new ways to recruit and understand if that’s what people want from us.

There’s never been a better time for businesses to embrace how we use technology in our daily lives. This marks the next step in how we are redefining the application process, casting our recruitment net wider as a result.

Harriet Hounsell is chief people officer at McDonald’s UK

Leadership: Are We At the Dawn of Robot Leaders?

The advent of AI has put the issue of leadership into focus. As technology improves, will machines replace people as our key decision-makers?

Workplace technology has significantly altered the way we work and interact. Digitisation helps us manage workflow, collaborate, generate ideas and stay connected.

We can work flexibly and be more productive, but we’re at the dawn of a new era of digitisation and some interesting challenges for the way we lead and manage.  

Technology offers solutions capable of automating many time-consuming routine management tasks including staff schedules, performance monitoring and reporting.

We can’t even say that humans make better decisions than well-programmed machines.

Artificial intelligence (AI) powered software can address more variables, more data and examine more scenarios faster than any human.

They are rather good at advanced data analytics and predicting a range of outcomes.

An example of an intelligent machine in use is IBM Watson, capable of processing questions posed in natural language.

IBM Watson is said to be able to process the equivalent of 1 million books per second using hundreds of algorithms simultaneously to identify a small range of solutions and then check its knowledge base to confirm an answer.

These powers were tested extensively against human Jeopardy! champions and, according to contemporary press reports and IBM Corporation, Watson won 65% of test matches and a three match live series.  IBM donated Watson’s $1 million prize to charity.

It’s easy, therefore, to envisage future leaders being supported by machine colleagues to analyse and interpret data to make better decisions.  

Transforming teams

Another area where changes abound is virtual and augmented reality technology (VR/AR), which is reaching maturity.

VR can deliver breathtaking realism, enabling people to be trained in simulated environments whilst AR will increasingly support the delivery of complex and dangerous tasks by providing a composite view of the real world including superimposed computer-generated imagery.

These technologies are already being exploited in many areas to enhance user/customer experience.

Robots enable us to generate more value from data in new ways. They may replace and enhance many essential management activities, creating opportunities to focus on more creative, rewarding and higher-value work.

Leaders will need to adapt to these technologies replacing or enhancing their colleagues in everyday applications.

We envisage further technology development enabling us to work on the move and at home.

Our offices will be re-imagined as collaborative social hubs with facilities for people that need to meet, build relationships, make decisions and perform tasks that we manage less effectively when dispersed.

Gaining greater value

Technology also presents new challenges for leaders. Many organisations are slow to adopt flexible working.

People report they are overloaded by processing too many ‘bits’ of information every day and there’s huge pressure on people to be ‘always on’.

In the late 20th century robots started to replace assembly line workers.

Advances in machine learning and natural language processing enable robots to start enhancing or replacing knowledge workers in data-intensive disciplines like clinical diagnosis, complex data analysis, pharmacovigilance (the monitoring of drug safety), legal research and technical support.  

Robots enable us to generate more value from data in new ways. They may replace and enhance many essential management activities, creating opportunities to focus on more creative, rewarding and higher-value work, but will robots ever replace leaders?  

What’s the role of leaders?

A vast body of literature attempts to classify and define leadership.

John Kotter’s analysis in his December 2001 HBR article What Leaders Really Do proposed that management is about coping with complexity, bringing order and predictability to a situation. In contrast, leadership is about preparing organisations to adapt to rapid change and helping people to cope as they struggle through it.

Kotter described leadership and management as two distinctive complementary systems, both of which are necessary in an increasingly complex and volatile business environment.  

Whilst robots are very good at internalising rules, they don’t yet do vision, charisma or demonstrate behaviours.  

He summarised three essential people-related leadership tasks: setting direction, aligning and empowering, motivating and inspiring.

Leadership serves a purpose that adapts to the demands of the prevailing situation.

In the 21st century leadership exists to meet the needs of the digital age, just as it served a purpose in the industrial age, but in a different way.  

The value of leadership is underpinned by several fundamental things that cannot yet be automated. These rely on human attributes such as:

  • Self-awareness (how individuals consciously know and understand their own character, feelings, motives and desires).
  • Imagination (the ability to think beyond our current reality).
  • Conscience (an inherent sense of right and wrong).
  • Independent will (the ability to act/not act based on awareness and judgement).

The relationship between these uniquely human attributes and leadership is immediately apparent when we consider the challenges of leadership in today’s business environment.

Creating purpose

Our business world is frequently described as VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous).

Having a vision, or purpose, helps people cope with uncertainty by articulating a compelling picture of what success looks like and why it’s important.

Leaders must establish vision then find ways to communicate it effectively to people.

They also need to balance what and why with the how, reconciling moral and ethical principles to establish and demonstrate appropriate standards of behaviour.

Whilst robots are very good at internalising rules, they don’t yet do vision, charisma or demonstrate behaviours.  


Leaders make intuitive judgments about critical business decisions based on their experience, awareness of the situation, empathy and their conscience.

Machines do this to the extent the variables can be encoded.

Leadership is vital for decisions requiring insight and judgment, where data cannot provide a definitive answer.

The key skill will be to identify which business critical decisions need the application of human judgment and which can be solved (or at least informed) by the press of a button.

Collaboration and connection

Digitisation enables more work to be delivered without congregation.

A leader’s role creating connections, enabling collaboration and building social relationships remains of paramount importance.

Intelligent machines will help us make decisions, perform tasks that can be coded and provide us with freedom by replacing routine functions.

Leaders need to embrace available and future technology to help them manage an ecosystem of dispersed and agile teams, rapidly mobilising and adapting to changing situations.  

Technology will be essential, but it won’t replace the leadership contribution helping organisations and people adapt to change.


Intelligent systems have many advantages including their ability to parallel process and store vast amounts of accessible information.

Machines can compute things like the human brain, but can’t yet replicate consciousness, genuine understanding and creativity. Once again, we humans have unique advantages.

Unlike intelligent robots, which can apply very sophisticated rules and algorithms but have limited ability to improvise and make up new sets of rules to suit previously unexpected situations, leaders can think creatively to imagine completely new concepts or ideas and empower others to do so. 

In a world dominated by intelligent machines able to mimic our cognitive functions, it may be harder for organisations to differentiate themselves without human creativity.

Will we be the servants or masters of robots?  

The more we automate, the more important people become. Leaders will increasingly need to focus on activities and processes that cannot be automated. 

These include helping people deal with uncertainty and change, making the ‘close calls’ and any activities where subtle behaviour and empathy is required.

Intelligent machines will help us make decisions, perform tasks that can be coded and provide us with freedom by replacing routine functions.

As leaders we should think of robots as valued colleagues, able to support, rather than threatening to replace us.  

Instead of focusing on complex tasks, we should be developing leaders who understand that we need to do things requiring our unique human qualities – and we need the wisdom to know the difference.

New UCAS Hub Provides Students with Information and Advice

More than a third of students applying to university are setting their sights higher after using the new UCAS Hub, which brings together information and advice on all their options for life after school in one dynamic place.

It is a personalised, digital space for young people considering their post-18 choices, as well as anyone thinking about returning to education.

In a survey of those who have used the Hub so far, 39 per cent said they are now considering universities with higher entry requirements.

The Hub is designed for exploration and reflection – meant for students to return to time and time again while they make, what could be, their first life-defining decision. Most respondents agreed they would keep coming back as new features are added in the coming months and years.

Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of students are now thinking of applying to universities or colleges they hadn’t previously considered, with 65 per cent saying the Hub has expanded their knowledge of the subjects on offer at undergraduate level.

60 per cent said the Hub has made them actively think about an option that they weren’t initially considering, whether that be a different university or college, a new subject or an apprenticeship. A quarter of students specifically said they would now think about applying for an apprenticeship instead of, or as well as, a degree.

Alternative careers are also being weighed up, with almost half of students saying the Hub has helped them to reflect on their future, for when they have completed their undergraduate course.

Clare Marchant, UCAS’ Chief Executive, said: ‘A new day has dawned as personalised information and advice arrives for all students with the UCAS Hub.

 ‘We want to turn the research process on its head. Rather than having to seek out information and advice, then create an application, our new Hub will instead encourage students to reflect and define what’s important to them and their future, with relevant information and ideas being offered.

 ‘The Hub gives students the opportunity to explore everything in one place. We’re already seeing them taking the time to delve into all available pathways and discovering the exciting routes on offer. As an independent charity, we’re well placed to offer impartial advice for students, and the Hub will help them navigate the roads ahead.’

Chris Skidmore, Universities Minister, said: ‘Students now have a wealth of different and exciting paths they can take after 18, and the new UCAS Hub provides those applying for university access to the best information and guidance for their future.

 ‘The Hub is not just about helping students with their applications, it is about encouraging them to aim higher and think about what they really want to get out of their future career.’

Shaun Hiscox, current student at the University of South Wales and member of UCAS’ Student Advisory Group, said: ‘I think the Hub looks fantastic. The accessible design provides an effortless transition between different sections, and the colourful style removes a sense of formality that was felt before.

 ‘The step-by-step process is wonderful and will help applicants stay focused. The ability to select by area and local landmarks is attractive as someone may want to live in the city and study in a busier environment, as opposed to someone else, who’d like to study near a beach. The whole overhaul looks amazing!’

Jo Moore, Progression & Employability Adviser at Exeter College said: “My team will be encouraging students to use the UCAS Hub this cycle, as having all the information, personal statement help, and courses in one place is really useful.

‘It’s a brilliant system to which I look forward to seeing progress in the future. Good job UCAS!’

London AEB Tender Funding Allocations

The sums being handed to providers under the Greater London Authority’s adult education budget tender have been revealed.

In August, the Department for Education devolved the capital’s £306 million adult education budget to the GLA; £130 million of which is being devolved over four years.

The tender was launched in October, and the GLA said it had received 202 bids, totalling £811 million; though the results letters sent to providers shows there were actually 336 submissions.

Of the £130 million that will be shared out via the tender, £32.5 million has been earmarked for 2019/20 (see table below).

Lot one of the tender constitutes 75 per cent and is dedicated to training out-of-work Londoners; while lot two makes up 25 per cent and will go towards training Londoners who are in-work, particularly those with low-pay or a low level of skills.

Newham College of Further Education, which Ofsted rated grade two, is the biggest winning college in the tender, winning £7.5 million for lot one across 2019 to 2023. It will also receive a £12 million grant.

Grade two United Colleges Group will receive the largest share for lot one, £8.3 million, in addition to a £9.3 million grant.

While the provider which received the most for lot two was Pathway First Ltd, with £6.1 million, after it also earned a grade two from Ofsted.

Aside from the tender, the remainder of the GLA’s adult education budget will be distributed to colleges and other institutions that currently receive funding via a grant from the ESFA.

Click the table below to enlarge it:


Fees for DBS Checks Reduce

With effect from 1 October 2019, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) will be reducing the fees for DBS checks.

DBS has conducted a fee review and as a result, the fees for DBS checks will reduce as follows:

Type of DBS checkCurrent feeFee from 1 October 2019
Basic DBS check£25.00£23.00
Standard DBS check£26.00£23.00
Enhanced DBS check£44.00£40.00

The fee for the Update Service will remain the same, at £13 per year.

Fee reduction graphic

Standard and enhanced volunteer applications will remain free-of-charge.

These reductions reflect the significant improvements in efficiency that DBS has achieved over the last few years and provides an opportunity for us to pass some of these benefits back to customers through lower pricing.

This also aligns with one of DBS’ strategic objectives to drive good value for money, with a fee reduction – one of our goals in the 2019/20 Business Plan.

New System to Simplify and Speed up Modern Slavery Referrals

A new system to simplify and speed up referrals of potential victims of modern slavery for government support has been rolled out by the Home Office.

The fully digitised system will simplify the process that first responders – including police officers, social workers or immigration officials – follow when referring victims of modern slavery to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).

Until now, first responders have used paper forms to refer victims for support through the NRM. Under the new system, rolled out last week this system will be digitised at the point of referral.

Further reforms to be rolled out shortly will also digitise the system used by caseworkers in the Single Competent Authority.

The new system will make referring victims for support more efficient, simplify the process for front-line workers and ensure those providing support for victims of modern slavery have all the information they need to provide good quality, tailored support.

Minister for Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins said:

Modern slavery is a truly abhorrent crime and the government is committed to stamping it out wherever it occurs.

These reforms will simplify the entire referral process, meaning that victims of modern slavery can receive the support they need sooner and abusers can be brought to justice more quickly.

These reforms are part of a package of measures to speed up and improve the NRM decision-making. In April, the Home Office launched a new Single Competent Authority to handle all cases referred from front line staff and to make decisions about whether somebody is a victim of modern slavery.

Through the world leading Modern Slavery Act, the government is ensuring victims have access to the support they need to begin re-building their lives.

In February 2019 the minimum period of support for confirmed victims was increased to 90 days, and the government is in the process of implementing a range of other reforms to the NRM.

In April, the Home Office introduced new independent panels to scrutinise negative “conclusive grounds” decisions – decisions which find that people are not considered to be victims of modern slavery – made by the Single Competent Authority, to provide greater transparency to the decision making process.

Improvements to support include introduction of places of safety for those rescued by law enforcement bodies prior to entering the NRM and implementation of post-NRM support to help victims transition to the next phase of their lives.

The improvements in support for victims sit alongside a range of measures to tackle modern slavery in the UK and overseas. These include:

  • the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act in 2015, which gave law enforcement agencies better tools to tackle modern slavery and enhanced protection for victims
  • requiring companies to publish transparency statements on what they are doing to tackle modern slavery in their own supply chains and recently announced that the government will shortly be publishing its own statement
  • £4m in funding for initiatives to tackle modern slavery and labour exploitation overseas through the Modern Slavery Innovation Fund.
Factors that Influence Salary Growth in the UK

There’s a direct link between age and salary – for most people they will increase together as new skills are learned, more experience is gained, and potential is increased. 

Several variables also affect salary, including industry, development, skill set and even gender. Here are the facts about what employees need to know according to Instant Offices.

Average Wages in the UK

The average UK annual salary or monthly wage of full-time employees differs drastically across industries. According to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), the median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees in the UK were up 2.2% between April 2016 and 2017, rising from £539 to £550.

When it comes to graduate jobs, research collated by Fresh Student Living, shows graduates are quite cynical about their starting salaries, with women pricing themselves almost four grand lower than their male counterparts.

With London doubling up as the education capital of the world, and the UK’s biggest hotspot for graduate recruitment, those working in the area can expect to start with an even better salary, which Glassdoor estimates at an average of £29,975 – a full 7% above the national average. However, this figure is heavily influenced by several factors that will determine just how much you earn at what age.

Factors that Influence Salary Growth

While the type of industry and the size of your company are both factors that can influence salaries, these additional factors also play a significant role in determining how much you should be earning at your age:


It is common knowledge that having a degree or qualification that is relevant to your profession positively impact your salary potential, however having experience can be equally as beneficial.


The average annual income for employees with less than one year of experience compared to those with 20+ years is, on average, £20,404 vs £39,199. Research shows that many employers value experience just as much, if not more than education. This is perhaps one of the most prominent factors and one that most closely correlates with your age. The number of years you have spent in a role or industry will have a significant impact on your salary.


In April 2017, the gap dropped to 9.1%, compared to 9.4% the year before. This is the lowest since the ASHE survey began in 1997, where the gender pay gap was 17.4%. In 2016, Monster reported that the average annual salary was £22,381 for UK women and £32,961 for UK men. More recently, in August 2018, the figures also showed the gap diminishing, with women earning an average of £25,303 and men earning an average of £30,524.


London remains the beating heart of the UK’s finances and of course, those working in the area can expect a hike in pay.

Highest Weekly Wages

Milton Keynes£619

Lowest Weekly Wages

What Can You Expect to Earn at Your Age?

Late Teens: According to ASHE, 16-to-17-year-olds entering the job market can expect to earn under £200 a week. Thankfully, by the time you reach your twenties and have far more responsibility, this figure will improve significantly.

Terrifying Twenties: At this age, salaries can grow quite quickly, and employees/job hunters in their twenties can use their skill sets and education as stable motivating factors for more money. ASHE calculated the average earnings of employees aged 22-29 at up to £477.9 a week for men and £440.8 a week for women.

The most apparent dearth in a twentysomething’s arsenal is experience. As of August 2018, it has been estimated that the average annual income, for employees with less than one year’s experience, is just £20,404 for employees with less than one year of experience. However, after 5-9 years, this figure burgeons to £30,915.

Stable Thirties: This is the age where experience, wisdom and carefully curated set of skills will start to pay off, and also when women typically reach their earnings peak. Employees can expect to gain quite a significant boost to the weekly/monthly wage estimate. ASHE calculated the average weekly wage for employees aged 30-39 at £613.3 for men and £557.5 for women. The overall annual figure comes up to £30,440.

Fabulous Forties: The overall annual salary figure for this age group comes up to £49,504. While women’s earning potential is highest in their thirties, the 40-49 age group is where men hit their earnings peak.

Road to Success

Despite your current salary, there’s always room to grow. Your salary and potential earnings will increase automatically as you improve your skills, knowledge and experience, but there are a few ways you can increase it right now:

  • Negotiate a salary raise – Keep details of your achievements at work and use them as leverage when negotiating a salary increase.
  • Research and compare your salary – Know how much your skills are worth and compare your salary with the industry average for an overview.
  • Become an expert – Consider training or studying short courses to become more knowledgeable in your industry.
Millions in Local Investment to Support Children and Young People’s Mental Health

£3.3 million is being spent to expand 23 local projects to help prevent mental illness in children and young people.

Thousands of young people across England will benefit from new mental health support including counselling, mentoring and arts programmes in their communities. This will be backed by a multi-million pound government investment this year.

School children walking

As part of the government’s commitment to transforming mental health care – backed by an extra £2.3 billion a year through the NHS Long Term Plan – Mental Health Minister Nadine Dorries and Public Health Minister Jo Churchill today announce an investment of a further £3.3 million in 23 local community projects across England.

Earlier this year the government pledged to overhaul society’s approach to mental illness through better access to education, training and support across communities. This included a commitment to train all teachers to spot the signs of mental illness in children, making sure they can intervene before issues escalate.

The funding will allow more children and young people aged 25 and under to access local services to support their mental health, with early intervention for those at risk of mental health problems. The projects have an emphasis on improving access to support outside of NHS services, including for groups such as LGBT young people or those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

Projects receiving funding include:

  • LifeLine Community Projects in Barking and Dagenham will receive over £298,000 to expand their work with young people most at risk of poor mental health, with preventative support to stop problems escalating and reduce pressure on NHS services
  • York Mind will receive £50,000 to expand their Arts Award programme, which connects young people to the arts, enabling them to increase their skills, confidence, sense of identity and reduce isolation, alongside one-to-one support
  • The Proud Trust’s Peer Support Project in Manchester will receive over £23,000 to support more LGBT young people through life-changing events, including discovering their sexuality/gender and coming out

See a full list of all projects receiving funding (PDF)

The funding will come from the Health and Wellbeing Fund, part of a programme of government investment in the voluntary sector. The projects will be fully funded through the scheme in their first year and additional joint funding from local commissioners will be agreed for 2 years afterwards.

Mental health services are being transformed through the NHS Long Term Plan so that 345,000 more children and young people have access to mental health support by 2024, including via mental health support teams in and around schools. This will significantly improve early intervention and prevention.

This funding boost follows last summer’s funding increase to the NHS budget, which will see the health service receive an extra £33.9 billion more every year by 2024 to support the NHS Long Term Plan.

Minister for Mental Health Nadine Dorries said:

“We know children and young people today face many pressures at home and in their social and academic lives but giving them easily accessible mental health support at an early age can help them thrive later in life.

“That’s why the government is investing billions every year to transform mental health care, and giving more money to innovative, community-led projects run by people who have chosen to dedicate their lives to supporting young people by providing them with the tools and means they need to manage their own mental health.”

Minister for Public Health Jo Churchill said:

“It’s only right that children and young people are able to access mental health support, not only through the NHS, but in the heart of their communities, schools and homes where they spend the majority of their time.

“The voluntary sector has a hugely important role to play in delivering these kinds of services and our Health and Wellbeing Fund is leading the way in ensuring government plays a role in cultivating the most effective, innovative and successful forms of community support – backed by an extra £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24 to improve NHS mental health services too.”

Kathy Roberts, CEO – Association of Mental Health Providers, said:

“The NHS Long Term Plan made a number of promises for mental health in the next 10 years, including the much-needed scaling up and improvement of support for children and young people.

“The voluntary sector has a key role in transforming mental health care and offers a range support for children and young people. The sector is innovative, has reach into communities, and there is huge potential to expand and scale up its offer. Association of Mental Health Providers therefore welcomes the Health and Wellbeing Fund’s focus on this important area and the funding of 23 exceptional voluntary and community sector projects.”