Responding to today’s publication of the National Audit Office’s report about the Department for Work and Pension’s employment support during the pandemic, Chris Harrison, Executive Director of Employability and Health at the employee-owned Seetec Group, said:

“Seetec Pluss welcomes the National Audit Office’s report about employment support during the pandemic and its view on future contracts which will form an important part of the economic and social recovery.

“The National Audit Office is right to say that the Government should not solely rely on data collected during previous employment schemes to inform its current view of the state of the labour market, given the unprecedented nature of the last 15 months. The Government could enhance future labour market interventions by taking a more focused long-term view of the procurement cycle. This will allow the Government to implement active labour market interventions linked to technological advances, generational employment barriers and changes in skills demand.

“Through the Work and Health Programme and Job Entry Targeted Support expansion scheme, Seetec Pluss has welcomed the positive experience of working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions to continue delivering support to help disabled people find work and guide those recently left jobless as a result of the pandemic to gain skills to access new opportunities. There remains a continued focus on tackling barriers faced by disabled people and those with long-term health conditions in the labour market.

“Restart will be a key route to support those Universal Credit claimants who have been unemployed for more than 12 months to find sustained employment. Seetec Pluss has been awarded a prime provider contract to deliver the Restart scheme in the South West. This scheme is currently being mobilised and will launch at the end of the month. These types of national employment support schemes help individuals to achieve their work ambitions and are a key tool to help drive job creation in partnership with local and national employers. The Department for Work and Pensions has a tough balancing act at the moment, due to the fluid situation that continues to impact the global economy. Restart demonstrates the Government’s determination that no-one should be left behind as a result of the pandemic, in particular the long-term unemployed and young people.

“The National Audit Office has commented on the pace of the mobilisation of Restart. Seetec Pluss is working in partnership with the Government, our expert supply chain and prime provider partners as the deadline for operations to commence draws closer – there will be an increased focus on collecting data to inform the development of future employment support schemes to continue to innovate in the sector and maximise sustainable job outcomes and onward progression for participants. The principle being that everyone in our society should be given the same opportunity to succeed. Restart is a vehicle for achieving this ambition and we are looking forward to getting on with the job.

“Seetec Pluss is committed to a skills and job-led recovery because it is in the national interest that an injection of momentum to aid the recovery from COVID-19 directly benefits local communities hardest hit during the lockdowns.”

Read the National Audit Office report here.

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