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Agenda item

Health and Work Programme - Update


Lela Kogbara, Assistant Chief Executive (Strategy and Partnerships), and Graeme Cooke, Head of Strategic Change (Employment), introduced the report which provided an update on the Health and Work Programme agreed at the July 2015 meeting.


The following main points were noted during the discussion:


·         It was reported that good progress had been made in developing the programme.

·         Lela Kogbara was Chair of the Programme Board; however this responsibility was to pass to health colleagues. It was suggested that this would increase the Programme Board’s emphasis on clinical matters.

·         A multi-agency programme structure had been established by the council, CCG, JobcentrePlus and health colleagues. Objectives, outcomes and monitoring arrangements had been agreed. The programme had been implemented on a small scale, with the Working Better employment service operating from seven primary care settings. Although the small scale of this trial was recognised, it was commented that this was useful in resolving preliminary matters related to integration and data collection.

·         It was commented that the CCG had been particularly helpful in liaising with health services and work was underway to develop joint training for health and employment professionals.

·         A priority and challenge for 2016 was to procure a provider for the supported employment trial. It was reported that the trial would aim to work with 500 residents who were out of work with either a long-term condition or disability. It was intended for the trial to commence in summer 2016 and run for two years.

·         The importance of engagement with residents was emphasised. Resident experts were being sought to participate in a steering group to help shape the design and delivery of the programme. To date 20 residents had been identified.

·         The Board considered the national policy context of the programme and noted that the government had announced further support to those with long-term conditions in the 2015 spending review and autumn statement. In particular, £115 million funding had been announced for a Joint Work and Health Unit, which had been established by the Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Health.

·         Whilst it was too early to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme, it was reported that the primary care services engaging with the Working Better employment programme had approached the programme with enthusiasm, recognised the benefits for patients and health and employment services and overall positive feedback had been received.

·         Some initial feedback had been received which commented that agencies had to be careful in forming the narrative of the programme. The Board was keen to emphasise that the programme was not connected to national benefit cuts and was not seeking to “force” people back into work.

·         A discussion was had on national health and work initiatives. It was reported that some Islington residents requiring health assessments by the Department for Work and Pensions had been contacted by the Health Assessment Advisory Service to advise that their assessment was in Milton Keynes. The Board noted that the nearest assessment centre was in Highgate and expressed concern at the impact that such administrative errors could have on vulnerable people.



1)    That progress in developing the local Health and Work Programme be noted;

2)    That future programme plans, including the procurement of a supported employment service trial in partnership with NHS England, be noted; and

3)    That the issues, challenges, opportunities and wider policy context for the programme, as set out in the report submitted, be noted.


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