WBC publishes plans to get residents back in work
The council has spelt out its plans for getting more of the borough’s long term jobless back into work. The proposals have been published in a paper presented to Chancellor George Osborne.
Services provided currently through the Department for Work and Pensions suffer because they are too fragmented and remote. The result is many local people miss out on the help they need to get back into employment.
Most of the borough’s long term claimants are already known to the council through their involvement with housing and social services. Around half live in just seven key wards including parts of Tooting, Roehampton and north Battersea.
The council works with known risk groups such as single parents who may need flexible child care or people with learning disabilities with health and social care needs.
Council leader Edward Lister said:
“Most of the services are just too centralised to have any real local impact. There is too much duplication and not enough direction. Councils are in the best position to combine knowledge of the local employment market with awareness of individual circumstances.
“Across London an estimated £5bn a year is being spent on services and benefits for unemployed people. By putting councils like Wandsworth in charge we could get more local people off benefits and back into work. It’s about making sure the public sector delivers value money – this is one area where we think councils can use their local knowledge to do a much better job than a government department.”
Action to reduce unemployment is a key aim of ‘Our Wandsworth 2018’ – the wide ranging plan for improving the borough. The council’s economic development office set up the Wandsworth Employment and Skills Forum in 2008 to improve access to learning and encourage employers to offer more jobs. Agencies involved include Job Centre Plus, South Thames College, training providers and the Chamber of Commerce.
August 20, 2010