Tackling employment and skills: now business critical?

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Tackling employment and skills: now business critical?

Tackling employment and skills deficits was once considered too risky or ‘not our business’ i.e. beyond the remit of social landlords. But Universal Credit, the ‘bedroom tax’ and the benefit caps all have the potential to impact adversely on residents’ income. We believe it is now business critical, not least to protect cash flow, to offer opportunities to get residents into, or better prepared for, work.

As urgent, the Public Services (Social Value Act) Act 2012 came into effect on 31 January 2013 and requires all public bodies in England, including Registered Providers to consider how the services they commission and procure might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area/s where they operate(1). The Act is based on the principle that ‘If £1 is spent on the delivery of services, can that same £1 be used, to also produce a wider benefit to the community?’ Are you ready to respond?

We need sustainable solutions to both challenges that flow from the core activities of Registered Providers that bring ‘added value’ outcomes. Housing and employment are interlinked: Registered Providers can offer a springboard to employment and skills opportunities whilst delivering social value at the same time.

The costs of unemployment: economic, social and individual have been well rehearsed:

Life is more insecure and stressful because of unemployment
Unemployment is a major risk factor for poverty and health
The link between crime and unemployment is undeniable.

We know that:

Fewer than half of social tenants of working age are believed to be in employment
80% of new housing association tenants aged 16-24 are unemployed
The Work Programme needs to engage over a quarter of working-age social housing residents.

From a business perspective investment in employment, skills and enterprise will help you to deliver sustainable regeneration. Thriving, resilient communities will have a positive impact on the asset value of stock, generating more opportunities to secure more homes. Using every procurement opportunity to deliver employments and skills opportunities, encourage small enterprise, linking up in partnership with specialist providers and ensuring your front line staff are equipped to guide residents to services are all business critical now.

Altair has experience of carrying out the detailed assessments as well as expertise in developing appropriate strategic and practical responses to the challenges, including welfare reform, financial inclusion and employment and skills strategies.

For an informal discussion, please contact: Chris Wood 07932 693292 or chris.wood@nullaltairltd.co.uk or Helen Cope, 07798 561054, helen.cope@nullaltairltd.co.uk

(1) The Act only applies to Wales in that it affects English-based organisations that also operate within Wales.