ERSA calls for new mental health funding to extend to employment support services

The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), the representative body for the employment support sector, is calling on government to ensure its new package of funds to support people with mental health conditions extends to employment support services. 

The call accompanies the release of new figures showing that 680,000 long term unemployed jobseekers have started a job on the Work Programme since its inception to end December 2014.  This is an increase of over 40,000 on the previous three months and shows the programme has been instrumental in raising Britain’s employment levels to 73% - the joint highest since records began. 

Of those starting a job whilst on the programme, around 170,000 are under 25, reinforcing the picture of young people being the best performing group on the programme.

The figures also show that performance for those on Employment Support Allowance (ESA), though improving, remains behind that for those on Jobseekers’ Allowance.  ERSA believes the Work Programme’s success could be extended to greater number of jobseekers on ESA, including those with mental health conditions, with the right resourcing in place.

The ERSA figures are released ahead of the announcement of official government performance statistics on the Work Programme due on 19 March.  These figures will show the number of people on the programme who have obtained a long term job – normally six months in sustained employment.

Kirsty McHugh, ERSA Chief Executive, said:

“Today’s figures show that the Work Programme is contributing significantly to the record high levels of employment. However, we know more people with mental health conditions could gain work if more funding was available.’

The expected announcement in the budget of new funding for mental health is great news for both those suffering from mental health conditions and their families.  However, given that official figures show that at least 10% of Work Programme customers suffer from a mental health condition, we need to make sure this funding extends to employment support services.’

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About MAXIMUS

MAXIMUS is one of the Department for Work and Pensions accredited providers of the Work Programme, delivering the scheme in West London and the Thames Valley, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, and North East Yorkshire and the Humber.

MAXIMUS has considerable experience providing support to help disadvantaged people back into the labour market and has partnered with governments around the world to provide critical health and human service programmes to a diverse range of communities for more than 40 years.

MAXIMUS operates in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia. Through its subsidiary Health Management Limited (HML), MAXIMUS is also one of the largest providers of occupational health services in the UK and carries out these services through a dedicated team of highly qualified clinicians.