Work and Health Programme: Who can be referred, for how long and when?

Work and Health Programme (WHP) referral criteria.

“From November 2017 the WHP will be DWP’s new contracted employment provision that will help persons who have a disability, the long-term unemployed (LTU) and specified disadvantaged groups to find sustained work.”

“referrals to begin between November 2017 and February 2018”

“Once a Participant starts on WHP, you have 456 calendar days to work with that Participant, to help them into sustained employment.” or up to “639 days” for people in paid employment.

“To be eligible for Work and Health Programme (WHP) all Participants must be of working age, and resident in England or Wales and be in one of the eligible categories. As stated in Chapter 1, all referrals will be made through Jobcentre Plus….

The majority of eligible participants are likely to be claiming…

Universal Credit (UC); or
Jobseekers Allowance (JSA); or
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)*; or
Income Support (IS)

*Check link for differences between ESA Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) and ESA Support Group)

“Participant Groups
2.11    The participant groups will be targeted referrals by Jobcentre Plus comprising:

persons who have a disability attending WHP on a voluntary basis;

early access disadvantaged groups attending WHP on a voluntary basis; and

LTU (Long Term Unemployed) attending WHP on a mandatory basis.”

The WHP provider guidance has additional referral criteria for ‘Participants with Disabilities’, ‘Early Access Disadvantaged Groups’, ‘Long Term Unemployed Participants, ‘Signposting Organisations (SO)’ for people who are not customers of Jobcentre Plus and ‘Workers in Paid Employment’:

‘Participants with Disabilities’

Participants with a disability can be referred by DWP to the Contractor on a voluntary basis, at the most appropriate time when the criteria below are met, the participant:

  •     has a disability or disabilities as defined by the Equality Act 2010;
  •     can be helped, in the opinion of DWP, by participating in the WHP;
  •    if relevant, has already been helped by Jobcentre Plus with their core jobsearch activity;
  •  needs more support than can be provided within the standard Jobcentre Plus offer (or through other available services and provision); and
  •    has committed to the goal of finding employment within one year.Please note – for participants with a disability, capacity to participate for any minimum number of hours per week/month will not form part of the decision to refer as there are no minimum hours of support/participation in the WHP.

‘Long Term Unemployed Participants’

“Mandation/Benefit Sanctions
2.36    Participation in the WHP for the LTU group is mandatory. Suppliers will have the delegated authority to require participants from this group to undertake activity which would help them find and retain work. If LTU participants mandated to the WHP fail to undertake mandatory activity, the supplier will refer to the DWP Labour Market and Decision Making Team who will decide if a benefit sanction is appropriate.”

  • JSA participants at 24 months including linking periods as set out paragraph 15;
    UC participants who start in the Intensive Work Search Regime (IWSR) and are in the IWSR when they reach 24 months discounting change of circumstances within the 24 month period; and
    Participants migrated to Universal Credit Full Service (UCFS) from legacy benefits will be considered when their time on legacy benefits including linking rules (as a.) and their time in the IWSR (as b.) totals 24 months.
  •     Participants who have completed WHP in England or Wales will be excluded. The Work Coach will also consider whether a participant should be Exempt from WHP or whether participation should be deferred. Details of Exemption and Deferral criteria will be provided.
  •     Whether eligible participants access the WHP will be determined by a process of random allocation. If a participant is randomly allocated, they will be referred by the Work Coach to the supplier on a mandatory basis.

Early Entrant Groups

  • an ex-offender (someone who has completed a custodial sentence or a community sentence), or offender (someone who is serving a community sentence)
  •     a carer;
  •     an ex-carer;
  •     a homeless person;
  •     a former member of Her Majesty’s (HM) Armed Forces;
  •     a member of the HM Armed Forces reserves;
  •     a partner of current or former Armed Forces personnel;
  •     a person for whom a drug/alcohol dependency (including a history of) presents a significant barrier to employment;
  •     a care leaver; and
  •     refugee.

‘Signposting Organisations (SO)’

In order to make the WHP accessible to all disabled groups, including those who are not regular customers of Jobcentre Plus, DWP approved Signposting Organisations (SOs) will be able to signpost individuals that they think will benefit from WHP to Jobcentre Plus.”

‘Workers in Paid Employment’

“In Work Support whilst on the programme can be for any period of time, but once a Participant reaches the 456 day end point on programme, In Work Support can only be extended for a further 182 days. This may extend the period for which you support a Participant in total up to a maximum of 639 days.”

Chapter 1 – Introduction and Overview
Chapter 2 – Participant identification
Call-Off Specification for the Work and Health Programme