Devolving employment support

  • By Jane Harrison

London Councils is proposing devolution and reform of London’s public services. 

Over the past few years, a range of work carried out by London, including most prominently the London Growth Deal submission, has started to set out London’s offer to create a step change in reducing entrenched worklessness and broader dependency on public services through greater local design, leadership and integration of employment support services. London’s engagement in this area is driven by a broader ambition around transforming public services.

Our first report ‘Getting London Working’ examined different employment support programmes in London. The report found that London has a vast and varied economy, and Londoners face a distinct set of challenges in accessing the labour market.

Following the ‘Getting London Working’ report A Growth Deal for London set out the ambition and asks of London government, and the London Enterprise Panel (LEP), to create a step change in reducing entrenched worklessness in London through greater local design and leadership of employment support services. We recognise that DWP is seeking to move to more integrated forms of delivery and commissioning at the national, sub-national and local level. This mirrors London’s ambition to ensure that employment provision in the capital is better served through integration with local services such as those relating to health and housing as well as skills provision and employer engagement services.

This campaign is framed by the context of the Growth Deal between London and government, particularly the pilot being developed for Work Programme leavers on Employment Support Allowance across the Central London Forward (CLF) sub-region (Working Capital); West London Alliance’s (WLA) Mental Health and Employment Pilot; Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark’s Universal Services delivered locally pilot; DWP’s initial work on the scope of Work Programme Plus; and cross-party debate on the potential future role of LEPs and combined authorities.

You can read more about the case for devolution in the Reforming Public Services briefings on this page. 

Jane Harrison, Principal Project and Policy Officer