The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has revealed the names of companies awarded contracts worth £2bn to get long-term unemployed people back to work.
The government’s Flexible New Deal (fND) awarded five contracts in geographical areas including London, Yorkshire and the Humber and Tees Valley to welfare-to-work specialist A4E.
Business services group Serco won three contracts for Manchester, Wales and Coventry, while charity the Wise Group won many Scottish areas, including Edinburgh, Lothian and Lanarkshire.
Serco Group chief executive Christopher Hyman said: “We are delighted to be supporting the government in transforming welfare-to-work services, and to be helping people develop new skills and to return to work.”
The five-year contracts will be signed in July, and the winners will work with smaller sub-contractors to deliver personalised welfare-to-work support to the long-term unemployed.
The fND replaces the government’s various New Deal employment programmes with a single scheme to provide more tailored back-to-work support to jobseekers, and pays providers by results.
The first phase will begin operating across the UK in October.
An independent think-tank criticised the fND as having “serious flaws” last September.