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Plan for Jobs DWP Touchbase Special – 10 July 2020

Roundup of recent DWP announcements 

Plan for Jobs
The Chancellor has presented his ‘Plan for Jobs’ to outline how the government will boost job creation in the UK. During the Coronavirus pandemic DWP has provided a crucial safety net to record levels of claimants, ensuring our customers receive the support they need. We are now doubling the number of frontline Work Coaches to 27,000 by March 2021. These work coaches will support people looking for work including helping them pivot into new sectors and making sure they access any additional support they need including training and work experience. We have also announced a significant package of measures that builds on and bolsters the existing support offered by our jobcentres. In this special edition of Touchbase we’re highlighting key parts of the announcement. You can find out more on GOV.UK.  
New Kickstart Scheme to support young people in work
A £2 billion Kickstart Scheme will provide high quality, 6 month placements from Autumn this year. Funding available for each job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week – and employers will be able to top up this wage.  The scheme will be focused on supporting young people who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment. Work Coaches will work with young people to ensure they access the best support package to meet their needs. Organisations across the private, public and voluntary sectors will be able to apply to create high quality roles to be funded through this scheme. 
Youth Offer
We will expand the Youth Offer to support 18 to 24 year olds, this will include a 13-week programme and once completed participants will be encouraged to take up work related training or an apprenticeship. Further support will be provided through the introduction of young people’s hubs where young people can access wider support. These will be co-located and co-delivered with our network of external partners. For those who need a bit more support, we will also expand the Youth Employability Coaches model. These coaches will focus on young people with more complex needs.  
Expanding the Work and Health Programme
The Work and Health Programme in England and Wales will be expanded to provide personalised light touch support for up to 6 months for those who have been unemployed for 3 months. Equivalent provision will also be put in place in Scotland. We will protect access to the Work and Health Programme for participants with disabilities and health conditions, and early access priority groups. We are also developing a new large-scale support offer, targeted at those who are out of work for longer periods and in need of support. 
£150 million to boost the Flexible Support Fund
This boost to the flexible support fund will allow jobcentres to put in place the right support for their community and to increase capacity of the Rapid Response Service that can be deployed for large local redundancies. The Flexible Support Fund allows us to provide funding directly to claimants and partners to target support locally and to address claimants’ specific barriers preventing them from returning to work or provide training. This can include purchasing support to meet one-off needs, for example funding travel to interview costs, equipment or clothing to start employment or paying for replacement adult or child care to enable someone to undertake training, attend interviews or start work. 
Sector-based work academies
We’re increasing participation in our sector-based work academies programme, aiming to support 40,000 jobseekers to get the right skills for the roles that are on offer. 
The sector-based work academy scheme offers training, work experience and a guaranteed job interview to those ready to start a job. We will establish bespoke opportunities, working with employers and training providers to support claimants to fill job vacancies and pivot into new careers. 
Other new measures announced
The Chancellor’s announcement included a number of other measures, including: Businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the Government already provides for new 16-18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan. A £111 million investment to triple the scale of traineeships in 2020-21 ensuring more young people have access to high quality training. Over a quarter of a million more young people to benefit from an extra £32 million investment in the National Careers Service. A Job Retention Bonus Scheme – a one-off £1,000 payment to employers for each furloughed employee that remains continuously employed until 31 January 2021. You can read more about the Plan for Jobs 2020 on GOV.UK
Recommencement of debt recovery 
In March DWP temporarily paused the recovery of overpayments for three months. The change meant that customers saw an increase in the amount of money they received and allowed us to move a significant number of colleagues, to roles where they could support the payment of benefits to those people making new claims. The recommencement of both debt recovery action started on 6 July. Customers affected will be told of this change through letters or updates in their Universal Credit journals.  
Face to face assessment suspension to continue for health and disability benefits 
Face-to-face assessments suspended in March 2020 are to remain suspended, but kept under review following a consideration of the latest public health guidance. As measures are taken across the country to ease restrictions, some review and reassessment activity, which was put on hold because of the coronavirus outbreak, will gradually resume. We will shortly be re-starting review and renewal activity in Personal Independence Payment and Disability Living Allowance, starting with those claims which were already underway when this activity was suspended. Please encourage your audiences and members not to delay making a claim if they believe they need support, or hesitate to update the department about a change of circumstances. All services remain open and telephone and paper based assessments are in place where appropriate. More information  
DWP improves complaints handling 
 DWP is improving the way it handles complaints and making it simpler. The change means we can prioritise the most urgent issues and those involving vulnerable claimants. For more information about the new process visit GOV.UK
DWP Touchbase: CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL – 3 July 2020
July 7, 2020

Roundup of recent DWP announcements 

Expanding our service offer in jobcentres We are working with local managers to start expanding our service offer in jobcentres to help get Britain back into work. Work Coaches are calling claimants – no one needs to contact us. We don’t want to sanction anyone. These are difficult, uncertain times for many people and we want to do everything we can to help them find work or increase hours, where that is possible for them. No sanction will be used until the claimant has an up-to-date Claimant Commitment in place. After that, a sanction will only be used where a claimant has not provided good reason for meeting the agreed requirements in the Claimant Commitment. Claimants who are shielding, have childcare responsibilities because of COVID restrictions, etc. will have their Claimant Commitment tailored to reflect their circumstances and will not be asked to do anything unreasonable. 
Wirecard service update Following the lifting of restrictions placed on accounts provided by Wirecard, customers will now be able to use their pre-payment cards again. This means that if you receive payments of any kind from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), into accounts held by companies associated with Wirecard, they will continue to be paid into these accounts as normal. Those customers who have been impacted can find more information here
EU Settlement Scheme
There is still one year to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Around 3.3 million have already been granted status and there is plenty of support available. EEA citizens and their family members are encouraged to apply now.  
Prime Minister announces New Deal for Britain
This week the Prime Minister announced a ‘New Deal’ which sets out the first steps in government plans to invest £5bn to accelerate infrastructure projects, fuelling jobs and economic recovery, that will benefit every corner of the country. 
Find out more   
Other government announcements
Detailed plans have been unveiled for all children and young people returning to full-time education from September. For the second phase of a major independent review into drug abuse, Dame Carol Black has launched a call for evidence and will engage with a wide range of stakeholders, hearing from service users and people with experience of drug addiction to build a detailed picture of treatment, recovery and prevention.  Transport will play a fundamental role in getting people back to work and restarting the country as sectors reopen. To help make sure journeys are safe the Department for Transport has published updated guidance for passengers and operators.  
DWP Touchbase: Coronavirus Special – 15 May 2020
May 18, 2020
Roundup of recent DWP announcements  
Benefits information available via WhatsApp:
People can now access the most up-to-date benefits and support information via their smart phones, using WhatsApp. The service, which can be accessed by sending ‘Hi’ in a WhatsApp message to 07860 064 422, has been launched to help combat the spread of incorrect information and to make the correct information easily accessible. The GOV.UK service currently has more than 312,000 unique users, and has sent more than 2.6 million messages since its launch on 25 March 2020. DWP is one of the first government departments to provide information via the service which includes information on benefits support available, how to check if you are eligible and how to apply. 
Information on furlough:
We’ve updated our Employment and Benefits Support site with information about furlough. The page offers straightforward information about what furlough is, eligibility, how furlough interacts with benefits and guidance and signposting on taking alternative work while furloughed.    
Job Retention Scheme update
The Coronavirus Job Retention scheme will be extended for four months until the end of October. After July, greater flexibility will be introduced to the scheme, allowing employers to move out of it in a measured way that protects people’s incomes and helps support furloughed employees as they return to work. This will run for three months from August through to the end of October. During this period, employers currently using the scheme will have more flexibility to bring their furloughed employees back to work part time. Further information can be found on GOV.UK.  
Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)
The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. There are 8 guides that cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.  
Safeguarding customers
As part of the DWP’s commitment to safeguarding customers during COVID-19, 10 regional Senior Safeguarding Leader roles have been introduced. The roles will be in place for three months initially and will act as an escalation point when a solution cannot be found locally. They do not replace existing routes into DWP where there is concern about a customer. As active members of multi-agency boards in their regions, they will work with partners to find resolutions for customers at risk and take forward any service design or policy issues. For details of your local Safeguarding Leader please email DWP Customer Safeguarding Team.  
Find out what you can do if you are struggling because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
Use this GOV.UK service to find out what help you can get if you are affected by coronavirus. You can use it for yourself or someone else. You can find information about: feeling unsafegoing in to workpaying bills or being unemployedgetting foodhaving somewhere to livemental health and wellbeing
DWP Touchbase: CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL – 7 May 2020
May 11, 2020
Roundup of recent DWP announcements  
Latest Universal Credit statistics Wednesday 6 May saw the biggest number of new Universal Credit claims paid in a single day. This was the first payment day for the 135,000 people who made a claim for Universal Credit over the 30th and 31st March.   Of the eligible claims, more than 9 in 10 have been paid in full and on time. Since the pandemic began, around 1.8 million claims have been made to Universal Credit and almost 700,000 advance payments made to people. You can see the latest Universal Credit statistics here.   
Access to Work – new measures to support customers To ensure disabled people remain supported in work through this period we have introduced new measures for Access to Work. These include: prioritising new applications from critical workers and those starting work within the next 4 weeksextending the timeframe to submit claim forms to 9 monthsextending Support Worker awards that are coming to an end, by 6 monthsaccepting employer and support worker signatures via emaildelivering workplace assessments and Mental Health Support Services via telephone or accessible alternatives. More information  
Information about claiming Universal Credit when you are in receipt of legacy benefits As part of our continued effort to be transparent and ensure people have the information they need when considering whether or not to make a benefit claim, we have produced a new animation. The animation informs people in receipt of legacy benefits, like tax credits, that applying for Universal Credit will impact their eligibility for legacy benefits. It also signposts them to a benefits calculator so they can work out themselves whether they would be better off on Universal Credit.
Please feel free to share this animation through your social channels: TwitterFacebookLinkedIn.   
Self-employment and Universal Credit Universal Credit is a flexible benefit and will adapt to a claimant’s income each month. If you represent people who are self-employed, it’s important they let us know about any income they have received, so their Universal Credit payment can be processed. This includes reporting if no income has been received in any given month. People who apply will be prompted to report their income and expenses in their online account as they get close to their payment date. More information
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme HMRC are contacting customers who may be eligible for the new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. The scheme will allow customers to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500, equivalent to three months’ profits. People can check if HMRC think they are eligible for the scheme by using the new online checker. The checker also gives the date from which they can make a claim.  
Pension Credit online service We’ve introduced a new service so pensioners can now apply for Pension Credit online. This will supplement the existing telephone and postal claim services. It will enable customers to make a claim without having to leave home to post forms or wait to get through on the phone – helping them also to adhere to social distancing and shielding measures. To ensure security for customers any personal information will be sent direct to DWP. We will also only pay people into the verified account that they get their State Pension paid into. More information  
Post Office card account applications Applications for Post Office card accounts will end for all customers from the 11 May 2020. This change applies to new claims only and does not affect customers with an existing account.  Customers who are unable to be paid via DWP’s standard method into a bank, building society, or credit union account will be offered payment via HMG Payment Exception Service at new claim stage. 
DWP Touchbase: CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL 30 March 2020
March 31, 2020
Access to jobcentres now limited 
Access to jobcentres is now being limited with members of the public only admitted if they are directed to do so with a booked appointment.  Only the most vulnerable claimants who cannot access DWP services in other ways will be invited to attend. In the meantime, services should be accessed online and over the phone if required. New claims for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance should be made online. For more information visit the Understanding Universal Credit website. We are taking urgent action to boost capacity, including moving 10,000 existing staff to work on new claims with 1,000 already in place, and will recruit a further 1,500 staff to aid the effort. 
Chancellor gives support to millions of self-employed people 
On Thursday 26 March, the Chancellor announced a package of support for people who are self-employed. Further information can be found on GOV.UK.  
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 
The Government has published further details and guidance for theJob Retention scheme. This includes information on pension contributions. 
Reviews and reassessments for disability benefits suspended for three months 
There will be no new reviews or reassessments across all disability benefits for three months; this includes Universal Credit (UC), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. This measure is effective from Tuesday 24 March and follows on from a previous announcement to suspend all face-to-face assessments for these benefits. For PIP claimants, if an assessment has already taken place this will continue to be processed. If an assessment has been scheduled, claimants will be contacted by the assessment provider. ESA and UC claimants whose cases have already been referred to the provider will be contacted to progress those. Further information can be found in the press release
Stay at Home, Save Lives Public Health England launched its nationwide Stay at Home, Save Lives campaign on Monday 23 March. The campaign gives the most up to date Coronavirus information; detailing the only reasons that someone can The government will look again at these measures after three weeks,leave their home, with the key message of ‘Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives’.  The government has introduced three new measures: Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes.Closing certain businesses and venues.Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public. The government will look again at these measures after three weeks. Public Health England has produced a range of materials across print, social, digital, TV and radio that can be shared to get the message across. 
HMRC – change of contact number As people across the UK are staying at home, HMRC have noticed some strain on their network provider. HMRC have now changed their helpline number to ensure those needing help and support can keep reaching their advisers.   The new helpline number is 0800 024 1222 and is open from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Calls to the old helpline number will be redirected, but please refer customers to the new helpline number where possible. 
DWP Touchbase: Edition 140
March 9, 2020

This edition of Touchbase includes information on:   

  • coronavirus 
  • Jobcentre Plus arrangements over Easter
  • changes to Universal Credit
  • support for domestic abuse
  • new services for Reducing Parental Conflict
  • a new Pension Credit campaign
  • an evaluation report for Automatic Enrolment
  • support for starting a business 

Access Touchbase HERE

February 3, 2020

This edition of Touchbase includes information on:   

  • pension increases for people living in the EEA or Switzerland
  • EU Settlement Scheme
  • Universal Credit
  • how to claim the New Style Employment and Support Allowance
  • Intensive Personalised Employment Support
  • Disability Confident
  • Local Housing Rate increases
  • Cold Weather Payment
  • Hospitality Works 2020

DWP Touchbase 139

DWP Touchbase: Edition 138
October 23, 2019

This edition of Touchbase includes information on:   

  • returning to live in the UK from the EU for UK nationals 
  • the Facebook pilot for DWP Benefits Information
  • the Christmas jobs campaign launch
  • the third anniversary of Disability Confident
  • the consultation for the Pension Protection Fund levy
  • Purple Tuesday

Access the Newsletter by following the link below:


DWP Touchbase: Issue 128
August 29, 2018

This edition of Touchbase includes information on:

  • rough sleeping
  • summer jobs
  • understanding Universal Credit
  • Pension Awareness week
  • an older workers toolkit for employers
  • Child Benefit payments
  • GCSEs
  • government support for savers

Touchbase Newsletter 128

DWP Touchbase: Issue 126
April 24, 2018

This month DWP Touchbase includes information on:|

Acess to Work Grants | Mandatory Reconsideration Made Easier | Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for Children – New, Improved Claim Form | Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Notes Sheet – New Easy Read Document | Work and Health Programme Rolled out Across England and Wales | Payment Exception Service Replaces Simple Payment Childcare Vouchers – Date Extended

Click Here To View Touchbase Online