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New scheme will get 5,000 Working Well in Greater Manchester

A new Greater Manchester initiative is helping 5,000 benefits claimants, who have struggled to find work, through more integrated and intensive support.

The Working Well programme - which was launched last month and will run for five years - will help this group of people on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) overcome their barriers to work.

Each person taking part in the scheme will receive individually-tailored packages of support ensuring, through careful co-ordination, that the issues which are holding them back from work are tackled at the right time and in the right order. They will receive this support for up to two years, with up to a year of in-work support, helping people find and sustain the right type of jobs for them.

These packages of support will be evidence-based and delivered on a family rather than an individual basis.

They will be delivered through a model integrating key workers in health (including physical and mental health, drug and alcohol services), skills, education and housing services, with two providers -The Big Life Group and Ingeus - delivering the project.

Almost a quarter of a million individuals in Greater Manchester are on out of work benefits, more than half of whom (140,000) receiving either Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Incapacity Benefit (IB). The direct costs to the taxpayer are £1.4 billion a year even before the indirect costs of related public services are factored in.

Very similar levels of people claiming ESA and IB have been a feature of the Greater Manchester labour market for the past three decades, despite sustained periods of economic growth.

Working Well is a key programme through which it is intended to demonstrate to government the advantages of devolution, and the ability of partner agencies in Greater Manchester to achieve better outcomes for people in the area.

It is an example of how Greater Manchester will expand its Troubled Families approach in dealing with broader issues and helping residents with complex issues to be self-reliant and independent, enabling them to seize the opportunities connected with economic growth.

Councillor Jim McMahon, Lead Councillor for Working Well for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said: "Working Well is a strong example of Greater Manchester's determination to support local people to reach their full potential and develop the local economy. We are excited to have this opportunity to prove that devolving power to Greater Manchester can achieve better outcomes through our ability to integrate public service delivery to meet local needs. The early signs are extremely positive and I am confident that we will significantly improve the lives of thousands of Greater Manchester residents."

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE GREATER MANCHESTER COMBINED AUTHORITY

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