Local Councils to Lead Job Creation Plans

Councils must be ‘fully focused’ on providing job creation and are being asked by the Government to lead their communities through the downturn. They are also being asked  to spearhead bids for the £1bn Future Jobs Fund to create 150,000 new jobs which was announced in the Budget.

The downturn is affecting all parts of the country differently so Ministers want local councils, who know their patch best, to harness the £1bn fund to drive forward job creation from the grassroots.

The Houghton report, which was published in March ahead of the budget, called for the creation of a jobs fund led by councils. The announcement of the Future Jobs Fund provides a response to that call.

As recommended by the report, Ministers are also announcing that councils should now commit to create unemployment profiles of their communities so they can design jobs and skills programmes to fit local labour markets and future demand partners.

In line with the Houghton report’s recommendation Minister’s have committed an additional £3 million to help councils kick start their plans and build capacity with specialist support provided by the Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships (RIEPs).

In addition, the Government will establish a new National Worklessness Forum to bring central Government, councils and other local organisations together to find the best ways to help unemployed people back into work.

The report recommended that:

  • Every council should conduct an assessment of local unemployment by the middle of this year, evaluating claimant trends, and assessing the impact of the downturn on the most vulnerable groups in their local areas who may be disproportionately affected and need innovative forms of support.
  • Councils should sign Local Employment Partnerships and all local authority vacancies be advertised in Jobcentre Plus.
  • Councils should sign skills pledges and make more use of Train2Gain job training so staff with low qualifications can progress further up the career ladder. Local Government and Learning Skills Council to agree a compact on funding for Train2Gain by Oct 2009.
  • A pre-apprenticeship programme for ‘Young Public Servants’ should be created with academic credit for a new Diploma in Public Service to be in schools by 2010-2012.
  • Councils with deprived groups and neighbourhoods, especially Working Neighbourhoods Fund areas, should be required to develop detailed Work and Skills plans.
  • Regional Development Agencies and Council leader boards should work up ways to provide credit to small businesses. Councils should increase their support for Community led financing for lending to businesses in priority areas.

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