We have previously featured the West London Alliance (WLA), a group of seven London councils, on this site for its innovative Skills Escalator aimed at working households on housing benefit. It also runs an innovative, holistic and place-based scheme for long-term unemployed people in two boroughs, Barnet and Brent.
While West London is doing well against national measures in tackling unemployment, it still faces old problems: there is no single public agency which deals with people’s needs, services often fail to address root causes of difficulty, and it is difficult for residents to navigate the breadth and complexity of support.
The Working Places, Working People model brings a range of actors together, including the local authority, Jobcentre Plus, housing providers, employment support providers, educational, healthcare and youth services and the voluntary and community sector (VCS), to tackle high levels of long-term unemployment and support people into work.
As well as its holistic approach, it is based on voluntary participation, and is integrated into the heart of small communities, both of which lead to greater community engagement. It is predicted that the programme could double the number of workless adults entering employment across both target areas from 145 to 320 over two years, and that the returns on the project will be £2 for every £1 spent.
A detailed business case for the scheme can be found on the WLA’s website.