WORKING LEVEL AGREEMENT
JOB SEARCH AND SUPPORT AND JOB-RELATED TRAINING (including the New Deal and Welfare to Work generally)
1. This document is one of a series of Working Level Agreements signalled in the Concordat on Education and Employment. It covers liaison arrangements between activity on the reserved areas of Job Search and Support (JSS) and the devolved area of Job-Related Training (JRT), and conforms with, and builds on, that Concordat, and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations. Where necessary more detailed working level interactions in this area will be set out in other documents.
2. The fundamental objective of the policy of both the UK Government and the Scottish Executive in this area is to help people not in work to obtain and remain in work. The co-ordination of policy and implementation in this area is necessary if the programmes of the UK Government and the Scottish Executive are to be delivered effectively and coherence of provision for people not in work is to be ensured. This is particularly so where the same powers are shared by Scottish Ministers and by the Secretary of State. This document sets out an agreement on the framework within which that co-ordination will take place, most notably at present in the policy area of Welfare to Work.
3. The Parties to this agreement are the Scottish Executive on the one hand, and the Department for Education and Employment and the Department of Social Security (and their agents the Employment Service and the Benefits Agency) on the other.
Under Secretary Meetings
4. The Under Secretaries/Directors/Heads of Group responsible for the areas covered by this agreement in the UK Government and the Scottish Executive shall meet twice yearly together with relevant colleagues (which may include officials of the other devolved administrations) to:
- Review the development and implementation of policy;
- Share information as appropriate on future directions or plans;
- Resolve outstanding issues;
- Agree a broad framework for the interaction of relevant policies and programmes;
- Where necessary, agree joint working in pursuit of these ends.
Welfare to Work Planning Group
5. A Welfare to Work Planning Group shall meet initially every month. It shall be chaired by the Under Secretary/Head of Group in the Scottish Executive responsible for JRT and include representatives from the Department for Social Security, the Employment Service Office for Scotland, the Benefits Agency, and the Enterprise Bodies, as well as other officials of the Scottish Executive. It will:
- Agree as necessary the role of the organisations represented and other relevant public bodies in the implementation of Welfare to Work programmes in Scotland;
- Review progress of and co-ordinate activity on Welfare to Work programmes in Scotland;
- Resolve issues arising;
- Where necessary, agree joint working in pursuit of these ends;
- Where necessary, pursue these ends in relation to JRT and JSS more widely, eg in relation to the planning of JRT.
The Group may also serve as a convenient forum in which to discuss issues arising from the response to particular economic difficulties.
Scottish New Deal Advisory Task Force
6. A Scottish New Deal Advisory Task Force shall be appointed by Scottish Ministers (in the case of the chair, after consultation with the Secretary of State, who will also appoint him or her to the UK New Deal Advisory Task Force). It shall provide advice to Scottish Ministers and/or to the Secretary of State on policy and implementation of the New Deal in Scotland, with particular reference to the New Deal for Young People and the New Deal for 25+, and the coherence of the framework for all the employment related New Deals. It shall also promote and market the New Deal to employers and encourage employer commitment. The Scottish Executive and the Employment Service Office for Scotland shall provide a joint Secretariat. Changes to its remit shall be made by Scottish Ministers after consulting the Secretary of State.
7. The Scottish Executive shall continue to be represented on the Welfare to Work Liaison Group and the Welfare to Work Evaluation Steering Group or their successors.
8. Except where otherwise stated, this agreement shall be reviewed by the Parties annually. Changes shall be made by agreement.