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Page updated 22 January 2010

Frequently asked questions

Subjects on this page:

The Fund: Is it for you?

Q: Can organisations other than local authorities submit a bid?

A: We are encouraging all bidders to work with a variety of local partners. We welcome bids from all sectors of the economy, private, public or third sector.

Further details can be found in the Guide to the Future Jobs Fund:

Q: Does EU state aid legislation apply to the Future Jobs Fund and can organisations make a profit?

A: If the recipient of a Future Jobs Fund grant is not a public body or if the Lead Accountable Body in a partnership is not a public body, the grant recipient must have Community Interest Company (CIC) status or comply with the CIC governance structure – this could be via a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which has the characteristics of a CIC.

The DWP will require evidence that an organisation or Lead Accountable Body in a partnership has CIC status or that they have formed a Special Purpose Vehicle, with the characteristics of a CIC.

In all circumstances the appropriate company model is a company limited by guarantee exhibiting:

In relation to SPV’s adopting the CIC model, the DWP will require sight of the SPV’s governing documents detailing the requirements listed above.

In relation to a body converting to a CIC, the DWP will require sight of the certificate of incorporation of the company as a CIC.

Further information can be found on the Community Interest Companies website where guidance material and further information is provided by the Regulator of CICs.

Please be advised that Annex A of the CIC Guidance Document includes model constitutions exhibiting the requirements specified above. The DWP recommend that all grant applicants seek independent legal advice in relation to this matter.

Please Note: the Department cannot enter into a grant agreement with a non-public body until it is satisfied the above requirements have been met.

Q: Does our bid need to create 30 jobs to be considered?

A: Yes,we expect bids to create at least 30 jobs. Smaller organisations may want to think about entering a partnership in their local area. To find out more about what else is going on in your area you should contact your locasl Government Office using the contact details section of this website.

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Writing your bid

Q: What is the deadline for bids?

A: There is no deadline and we aim to assess the bids and to notify bidders within six weeks of the bid being submitted. In practice this means that bids are assessed in monthly batches with the last working day of the month as the cut of for each round. Bidders should expect to find out whether they will receive funding within 6 weeks of the monthly cut off.

As a rule of thumb, we would therefore suggest that you aim to submit your bid at least thirteen weeks before you would anticipate the first job starting.

Q: Can the Future Jobs Fund be used to fund an apprenticeship?

A: Yes, we welcome bids that create apprenticeships. The following Future Jobs Fund criteria will apply.

We will also ask bidders to confirm that the Apprenticeship will be funded to completion.

Q: Can the Future Jobs Fund be used to fund a move into self-employment?

A: Future Jobs Fund funding cannot be used to set up individuals in self-employment. However, if an employer wishes to help train and support an employee into self-employment for when their Future Jobs Fund job ends this perfectly acceptable.

Q: Why do you favour partnership bids?

A: Partnerships offer greater value for money, better economies of scale and higher quality of support for employees.

Q: Can the Future Jobs Fund be combined with existing recruitment subsidies or other employment support programmes?

A: Funds from the Future Jobs Fund cannot be combined with any elements of the new package of support for jobseekers who have been unemployed for six months such as recruitment subsidies. It also cannot be combined with funding for the Flexible New Deal, as Future Jobs Fund employees will have left Jobseeker’s Allowance before they reach the Flexible New Deal point. It also cannot be combined with any New Deal Options.

Q: Can we enter more than one bid?

A: We would encourage organisations to work in partnership and, wherever possible, submit only one bid per area. Where this is not practicable, for example if your organisation is a member of two local partnerships, you can submit more than one bid but you should state this explicitly on all applications.

Q: Will you accept bids from managing agents – where you pay a management fee to the agent to source jobs and then contract separately with the employer?

A: We would welcome partnerships bids and managing agent bids. However, we expect that these would be on the basis that we make payments only to the lead bidder or agent, and the lead bidder is then responsible for making payments to the employer where that is another organisation.

Q: How many people in my area are likely to reach 12 months on Jobseeker’s Allowance and become eligible for a Future Jobs Fund job?

A: As the Bid Guidance Notes set out, all bids need to analyse the labour markets for the areas in which you plan to create jobs. In practice this means you will need to look at the number of people who will be eligible for Future Jobs Fund jobs along with the trends in vacancies and unemployment in a given locality. This analysis should be in proportion to size and scope of the individual proposal. So, a large local authority aiming to create a large number of jobs in a small locality will need to undertake a comprehensive labour market analysis. Conversely, a national organisation creating a very small number of jobs across a large number of different areas will not need to undertake a detailed analysis in each locality but should still be able to broadly demonstrate a demand for the jobs they are creating.

We expect that young people will be referred to Jobs Fund jobs after they have been on Jobseeker’s Allowance for ten months and before they reach twelve months on benefit. Currently around 90 percent of people leave Jobseeker’s Allowance within twelve months. Based on previous recessions, it is possible that this proportion could fall slightly over the coming months, although it is unlikely that the proportion will change significantly. Initial indications show the the numbers of people leaving benefit in the current downturn are higher than the corresponding period last year. This means that off-flow rates remain robust.

So, the best way to estimate the possible number of people in an area who may become eligible for a Jobs Fund job would be to look at the number of young people who started their claim ten months before you anticipate the job will start, and assuming that perhaps 10 to 15 percent will still be on Jobseeker’s Allowance ten months later. So if you are bidding for jobs that will start in October 2009 then you need to check how many people started their claim in December 2008. For jobs that start in January or February 2010 you need to check how many started their claim in March or April 2009.

Note that not everyone who is technically eligible for a job will be referred by Jobcentre Plus – as some may not be suitable for that job. And of those referred, we would not expect employers to always recruit every single candidate. So you may want to assume that only a proportion of the possible number of people eligible would be offered a Jobs Fund job.

We have set out below how to get the data on the number of people starting a Jobseeker’s Allowance claim.

Q: How can I calculate the Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant count figures for my area?

A: The NOMIS website provides a lot of information about Jobseeker’s Allowance. Because Jobseeker’s Allowance figures change all the time as people start and leave benefit, the most useful information is on claimant count “on flows” – that is, the number of people starting a Jobseeker’s Allowance claim at a certain point in time. From this you can then make an estimate of how many may still be on benefit 10 months or a year later.

A step-by-step guide to getting Jobseeker’s Allowance flows from NOMIS is below.

1. From the NOMIS homepage, firstly click on the ‘Advanced query’ link inside the box on the top right hand corner.

Another window will open entitled Choose your dataset…  This page shows a list of themes. 

2. From this list, select Claimant count.

3. In this folder there are then 2 options, current and historical. Select the current folder.

4. There are then a number of options. Select the link claimant flows – age and duration (Jun 1983 to latest date) which is about half way down the list.

5. You will be taken through to a new screen where you can specify what data you want. On the left hand side of the screen there is a list of options.  Working through these:

6. To double check the options that you have made, click on the review selection link on the left hand side of the screen.

7. Then click on download data under the results heading on the left of the screen.

8. The new screen will tell you that the data is ready to download.  Click on the spreadsheet link entitled Download data for…

9. Next you can either directly open the sheet, or save it first. The spreadsheet can then be used with appropriate software like Microsoft Excel.

Q: How do you define an unemployment hotspot?

A: We are defining unemployment hotspots as areas where there is unemployment 1.5 percentage points above the national average. To find out whether your area would be classed as an unemployment hotspot you should use the NOMIS website, following the step by step guide below.

In this example we will select a Local Authority District.

1. From the NOMIS home page select "Wizard." Then select "Claimant count with rates and proportions (June 1983 – latest month shown)

2. From the various boxes displayed find “Local Authorities; district/unitary”.

3. Select the ▼ symbol and from the drop-down menu, select “some”.

4. From the oblong box at the top of the page select the ▼ symbol; then from the drop-down menu, select the Government Office Region (for England), or Wales, or Scotland, in which the Local Authority District you want is situated.

5. Local Authority Districts in the English Government Office Region, or  Wales, or Scotland will be listed in Alphabetical order. Select the box by the Local Authority District you want.

6. Press “<back” at the top right hand side of the page.

7. From the various boxes displayed find “Countries”.

8. Select the ▼ symbol and from the drop-down menu, select “some”.

9. Select the box by “Great Britain”.

10. Press "next>", then "next>" again at the top right hand side of the page.

11. Select the box by "Residence based proportions." Then press "Finish" at the top right hand side of the page.

12. Select “Download data for Excel 97-2003(.xls)”.

13. You should then have an Excel spreadsheet showing both the latest GB claimant rate and the claimant rate for the area you selected (seasonally unadjusted). Subtract one from the other to give you the difference between your area and the national average. Ward level data can be found by using the same procedures as above, but by starting at “2003 Statistical wards (October 2004 onwards)”, selecting the Local Authority District the ward is in from the drop-down menu, and then selecting the ward from the subsequent drop-down menu.

Q: How large is an unemployment hotspot?

A: Bidders can bid to create jobs in areas where the claimant unemployment rate is 1.5 percentage points above the national average. We have not specified the geography for this – it is up to the bidder to define where it is that they want to target. A small number of Local Authorities would qualify in their own right, a larger number of Wards, and an even larger number of Super Output Areas (or equivalents in Scotland and Wales). We would certainly welcome Ward level bids. Super Output Areas would be relatively harder to deliver, as there would need to be mechanisms in place to identify eligible claimants in that area.  We will confirm in the coming weeks whether bids could be accepted that target down to Super Output Area.

Q: What are the eligibility criteria for claimants in unemployment hotspots?

A: We would expect that Future Jobs Fund jobs created as part of the 50,000 jobs targeted at unemployment hotspots would be targeted at long-term claimants – so claimants of any age who have been claiming for a period of time and not been successful in finding work. We will set out the eligibility criteria more fully in the coming weeks.

Q: Can Train to Gain funding be combined with the Future Jobs Fund?  

A: It may prove possible to access Train to Gain funding alongside the Future Jobs Fund, depending on the availability of funding and its eligibility criteria. You should contact your local Learning and Skills Council to discuss whether Train to Gain funding is available.

Q: Can the jobs created be for long-term unemployed people under 18?

A: All jobs must be suitable for long-term unemployed young people (those aged 18–24), although a proportion of jobs may be taken up by long-term unemployed people of any age over 18 depending on local circumstances. Future Jobs Fund jobs will not be available to people under eighteen.

Q: Can the jobs created go to people on any out of work benefit?

A: The 100,000 jobs targeted on young people will go to 18–24 year olds approaching 12 months on Jobseeker’s Allowance. In exceptional cases, where jobs cannot be filled by young people, then advisers may have discretion to refer older people on Jobseeker’s Allowance. However we do not expect that those jobs will be filled by people on other benefits.
The 50,000 jobs targeted on unemployment “hotspots” are not limited to individuals on Jobseeker’s Allowance, and so we would welcome bids that align specialist funding to create opportunities for people on other out-of-work benefits (Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance). In all cases we would expect that jobs in unemployment hotspots would be targeted at those who have been on benefit for a year or more. Bidders should set out any requirements of the jobs they intend to create and we will develop guidance for advisers to ensure that appropriate claimants are referred.

Q: Are candidates from groups prioritised under Public Service Agreement 16 eligible for the Future Jobs Fund?

A: We would welcome bids that target disadvantaged groups, including Public Service Agreement 16 groups. However they would also need to meet the other eligibility criteria, as set out in the guidance.

Q: Are young people who are fast tracked through a Jobseeker’s Allowance claim eligibe for the Future Jobs Fund?

A: Where young people were previously not in employment, education or training (NEET) have been fast tracked they will be eligible for the Future jobs Fund. Young people will qualify for Future Jobs Fund vacancies when they near the 12 month stage of a Jobseeker’s Allowance claim which for fast tracked NEETS could happen up to 6 months earlier than other, non-fast tracked Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants.

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The assessment process

Q: How are bids assessed?

A. Bids will be assessed against minimum criteria by a central assessment team before being transferred to the appropriate region for scoring against the secondary criteria. The final decision on whether to award funding will be taken by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions following recommendations from the regional assessors and a senior cross-Government panel.

You can download the scoring sheets and guidance that will be used by the assessors.

(this will shortly be updated to reflect the new bidding form)

Q: Can we bid again if we are unsuccessful the first time?

A: You can submit subsequent bids if your bid is unsuccessful. If your bid is unsuccessful we will provide you with feedback to help you strengthen any future bids.

Q: Who will we share your bid with?

A: Your bid will be shared with those who are involved the assessment process. It will be assessed by the Department for Work and Pensions, Jobcentre Plus, the Learning ans Skills Council, Regional Government Offices and, for bids covering Scotland or Wales, the Scotland or Wales Offices and the Scottish Executive or Welsh Assembly Government. Plus TUs.

Q: How does the assessment process work?

A: There are a number of stages to the bid assessment process. Bids should be sent to the central assessment team using the email address (future.jobsfund@dwp.gsi.gov.uk).  The central team will then conduct the initial sift against the minimum criteria before sending bid documents to regional teams for assessment against secondary criteria. A regional panel, following sign-off by Regional Ministers will make recommendations on which bids should receive funding. The final decision will then be taken by a central panel with decisions confirmed by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Ministers.

Q: What happens if we submit a national bid?

A: National bids will follow the same process as bids which cover a specific area or region. To ensure we are scoring consistently, national bids will be scored by the regional office covering the location of the jobs in question. For example, if a national organisation submitted a bid to create 10 jobs in Newcastle, 15 in Leeds, 12 in Manchester and 18 in Birmingham, then each element of the bid will be sent to the appropriate region, in this case the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West, and the West Midlands. It is important that bids to create jobs in a given locality are scored competitively against other bids covering the same area.

Q: What information do I need to provide with the bid?

A: You will need to provide a number of supporting documents about the Lead Partner Organisation when you submit your bid.

If your lead partner is a public sector organisation (for example a local authority, or an NHS Trust) we will require:

If your lead partner is not a public sector organisation (for example a trading subsidiary of a council, a charity or a housing association) we will require:

Q. What happens if our bid meets the minimum criteria?

A: You will receive confirmation of this via e-mail from the Central Assessment Team, your bid will then be passed to the relevant Regional Governement office for assessment against the secondary quality criteria.

Q: Will I receive feedback?

A: Yes. We will provide feedback on all bids that do not receive funding or that receive only partial funding. We will also provide feedback if a bid does not meet the minimum criteria.

Q: Is the decision final? Can I appeal?

A: The decision on whether to award funding to a particular bid is final and there will be no right of appeal. However, unsuccessful bids will receive comprehensive feedback from our assessment teams and we will be looking to organisations to submit improved bids having reflected our feedback. If an organisation does not initially receive funding, this will not count against them when submitting later bids.

Q: Who is involved in the assessment process?

A: There are a number of different organisations involved in the process, reflecting the wide range of bids we are expecting to the fund. The central assessment team will be staffed by civil servants from the Department for Work and Pensions with the regional teams led by Government Offices in England and Jobcentre Plus in Scotland and Wales. There will also be advisory panels at regional level which will include trades union representatives, the Learning and Skills Council, Regional Development Agencies and Scottish Executive and the Welsh Assembly Government in Scotland and Wales respectively. The central panel will include senior civil servants from a number of different departments.

Q: How will the regional teams score against the secondary criteria?

A: Regional assessment teams will use the scoring template and guidance available on the Future Jobs Fund homepage. The scoring system is designed to ensure bids will create real jobs that will be appropriate for young people approaching long-term unemployment while also providing clear community benefit.

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Guidance for successful bidders: From notification to job starts

Once a bidder has been notified that their bid to the Future Jobs Fund has been successful they will need to undertake a number of different steps before a job can start.

Q: How do successful bidders notify vacancies to Jobcentre Plus and how will customers be referred?

A: The guidance below provides information additional to the Grant Letter on how successful bidders should interact with Jobcentre Plus. This includes how vacancies can be notified, how marketing material should be shared and the ongoing support Jobcentre Plus will offer bidders to help them fill their Future Jobs Fund jobs.

Q: Can I interview candidates to check their suitability?

A: Yes – we would expect that employers would want to interview candidates and select the right one or ones for the job. However feedback must be offered to unsuccessful applicants. And in general, we would expect bidders to ensure that the jobs are suitable and attractive to eligible claimants and then to employ the number of people for which they have been given funding .

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Monitoring progress and extending proposals

Q: Can we extend bids once jobs are up and running?

A: If you bid successfully to create jobs for 6 months you will be able to bid again to create additional jobs. However you would not be able to use that funding to extend the employment of an existing Future Jobs Fund employee. Evidence that the initial jobs created have been successful will stand you in good stead for further applications.

Q: What performance monitoring will be required?

A: We will publish further information on performance monitoring and assurance in due course.

Q: How will payments be made?

A: Bidders are asked to set out their costs and how these break down as part of the secondary criteria. We are considering how payments will be made, but we intend that there will be a mix of some up-front payment when (or possibly before) an individual starts a job, ongoing payment and possibly payment on completion.

Q: If a 6 month post is created and the postholder leaves early, can the job be offered to someone else for the remaining period or an entire 6 months?

A: Where an employer is on profile with its job starts, ‘unused’ funding from early leavers can be accumulated to recruit additional people into FJF jobs. To recruit an additional person, the employer must meet all of the following criteria:

People recruited under the ‘unused weeks’ policy do not attract any additional funding.

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Requirements for Local Authorities only

Q: Will my authority have to do a Worklessness Assessment and a Work and Skills Plan?

A: In developing bids, local partnerships should demonstrate that jobs will be suitable for those at risk of long-term unemployment particularly youth unemployment, and, in disadvantaged areas, other identified target groups.

Bids should include an initial assessment of worklessness within the area covered by the bid and demonstrate a sound understanding of the economic context, the needs of local residents at which the Future Jobs Fund will be targeted and how the spending will align with and complement other employment and skills programmes and services within the area.

We will not require full Worklessness Assessments and Work and Skills Plans to be completed prior to submitting bids to the Future Jobs Fund, however all partnerships that are awarded funding in England will be required to do so by April 2010. We will be discussing with partners in Scotland and Wales whether any similar requirements should be placed on authorities in those areas.

Where partnerships are operating across local authority boundaries, for example through City Strategy Pathfinders, Multi Area Agreements or in the Leeds or Greater Manchester City Regions, they may opt to produce joint assessments or plans. Bids from other partnership groups will also be welcomed. As part of their bids, partnerships should show an understanding of worklessness across the whole of the area they cover. They may also produce their full Worklessness Assessment and Work and Skills Plan at that same geographic level, or individual authorities may produce separate Assessments and Plans.

Q. I’m not a local authority, do I still have to produce a Worklessness Assessment?

A: When you submit your bid you need to make clear that you understand the nature and scale of worklessness in the area where the jobs will be and show how the jobs will meet the needs of the community. If you are not a local authority you will not need to produce your own Worklessness Assessment and Work and Skills Plan, but we expect you to work with the local authority and Jobcentre Plus for your area and use their analysis to inform your bid. If you are not sure who you need to get in touch with, your local Government Office contact can help.

Q. What is worklessness? Why aren’t we doing an unemployment assessment?

A: Worklessness is a term that covers both unemployed people actively seeking work and those people who have become completely detached from the labour market – for example long term incapacity benefit recipients or people who have never worked.

The Government believes that it is important to continue to focus on helping these hard to reach groups get back into work in the downturn. The Future Jobs Fund mainly focuses on unemployed young people, but also aims to improve outcomes for other disadvantaged groups. A Worklessness Assessment should help an authority to understand not only the number of newly unemployed people or Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants, but also the nature and scale of the wider issue of worklessness in their area.

Q. Will there be any guidance on the Worklessness Assessments and the Work and Skills Plans?

A: DWP and the Department for Communities and Local Government are working together to produce guidance for the Worklessness Assessment and the Work and Skills plan, in consultation with local authorities and partnerships, as soon as possible.

Q. What should a Work and Skills Plan cover?

A: Whilst guidance is yet to be finalised, our expectation is that the plans will require a local authority or partnership to:

Government guidance will be complemented by more detailed sector led guidance from the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) for local government, which will also be published later this year.

We will work with the IDeA, the Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships (RIEPs) and the National Worklessness Forum to develop the guidance with local authorities and their partners and to offer support on completing the assessments and plans.

Q. What should an initial assessment of worklessness cover?

A: Local authorities are best placed, either individually or in partnership with one another, to understand the specific worklessness issues faced by their area. Government will not therefore be producing prescriptive guidance.

To support their bids, we expect that authorities will build on existing analyses to consider:

Where bodies other than local authorities are bidding for Future Jobs Fund money, they should work with their local authority or local partnership and take into account the assessments that are being done.

Once funding is allocated, authorities will need to build on this initial assessment to produce a Worklessness Assessment, which will act as the evidence base to support the creation of a Work and Skills Plan by April 2010. The Worklessness Assessment will feed into work on the Economic Assessments that will need to be produced by upper tier local authorities.
 
Q. How does this fit in with the proposals set out in the government’s response to the Houghton report?

A: The Worklessness Assessment and the Work and Skills Plan were proposed in the Houghton report on tackling worklessness. The Government has accepted these proposals and recognises the need to align them with other assessments and plans being produced at a local level.

Q. Is the Worklessness Assessment separate from the new Economic Assessment Duty?

A: The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill will place a new duty on county councils and unitary authorities to prepare an economic assessment of their area. The new duty is expected to come into effect in April 2010 and it will form part of the evidence base for the preparation of the new regional strategies.

The Government will publish draft guidance on the new duty later this year when the Bill has received Royal Assent. This will, among other things, set out the key issues that the Government believes all local economic assessments should address in order to get a comprehensive picture of local economic conditions. In that context, the guidance will encourage local authorities to use their local economic assessment to assess the nature and scale of worklessness in their area and identify those barriers preventing people getting back to work.

Those local authorities that have carried out an assessment of worklessness as part of their bid for the Future Jobs Fund should use that evidence to inform the wider local economic assessment.