CSAN response to the Work and Pensions Committee Welfare to Work Inquiry

CSAN represents a network of 42 Catholic charities and dioceses throughout England and Wales, many of whom work with the unemployed and provide skills and workplace training. This submission was prepared based on the evidence and expertise of three members who help people, particularly those with multiple barriers and disadvantages, into sustained employment. These members are:

The Cardinal Hume Centre (London Borough of Westminster)

The Cardinal Hume Centre has developed an employment model proven to help those caught in long-term unemployment and short-term contracts into sustainable employment. Clients are offered intensive coaching to improve focus, self-esteem and motivation as well as flexible skills and employability training. The unique combination of personal coaching and established employer links means clients at the Cardinal Hume Centre often secure work that would be hard for them to access on the open market.

Caritas Anchor House (London Borough of Newham)

Caritas Anchor House is a residential and life skills centre for single homeless people. Based in the East End of London, Caritas Anchor House supports over 200 people each year, giving them so much more than just a roof over their heads. Their aim is to address the root causes of homelessness and create sustainable solutions that ensure the people we help will never find themselves in that situation again. The industry average for homeless organisations helping their clients into employment is 10%, Caritas Anchor House has a 37% success rate.

St Antony’s Centre (Manchester and the North West)

St Antony’s Centre is an accredited training provider committed to providing high quality teaching, learning, support and achievement in the north-west and Northern Ireland region. The centre, with its unique approach, works towards bridging the needs of the community and an individual’s entry into economic life. St Antony’s has built strong partnerships with companies, trade unions and the community in the region.

Summary of recommendations

The current contracting model of the Work Programme places the emphasis on immediate outcomes rather than on the long-term needs of the individuals. This leads to providers cherry picking Work Programme participants with fewer barriers. Without significant time and investment and a person-centred approach based around the individual, people with multiple barriers will struggle to find and sustain employment. This programme of support can only be successfully executed by trained and experienced staff and organisations who already work directly with the people furthest away from the job market.

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