Many drug and alcohol services in London are working with training and employment support services to create positive pathways to employment for their service users. However, to date this work has not been significantly highlighted or promoted within London. With funding from Trust for London, LDAN launched an employment project in 2009 to start building an evidence base on what works in employment for people with drug and alcohol problems, and influence pan-London and national policy in this area. The first phase ran for two years.

The second phase of the project, funded from 2011 to 2013, is now focussing directly on engaging and influencing London employers and educational establishments. The pan-London employment expert group draws from the business, public and charity sectors, service user representatives, and key service providers, and includes Job Centre Plus, the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse, BeOnsite, Inclusion, St Mungos, the London Drug and Alcohol Forum, and A4E. The project will look to open up opportunities for the client group, and provide guidance and support to drug workers and service users through targeted events and information resources.

The Work Programme

The Work Programme is one of the “Get Britain Working” measures and is the centrepiece of the Department for Work and Pensions’ support to the long-term unemployed and to disadvantaged groups. The National Treatment Agency is working with all six London prime contractors to develop a protocol to improve communication and referrals in both directions. The following PDFs provide information for London drug services and service users about the Work Programme, and information for Work Programme providers about drug and alcohol agencies in London.

LDAN Pathways to Employment – employment and welfare reform event

Part of the Trust for London funded LDAN Pathways to Employment project, this event was focussed on key elements of welfare reform, partnership working with Jobcentre Plus and self-employment as an option. After the chair, Dr Marcus Roberts, opened the event, Jacqueline Clayton from the Department for Work and Pensions provided an overview of the policy context and Gareth Evans from The Small Business Consultancy introduced the e=mc2 self-employment support offer. After a short break, Prathiba Ramsingh from Jobcentre Plus and her colleague Chris Hobrough led a practically-focussed session looking at the expectations that drug and / or alcohol treatment providers can have of JCP. Paul Anders from LDAN/DrugScope then introduced the recent report Pathways to Employment 2014, which contains the findings of several strands of LDAN/DrugScope activities in London. Natasha Warne from Public Health England was the final speaker, outlining PHE’s priorities and activities. The event concluded with an expert panel chaired by Marcus Roberts and comprised of Gareth Evans, Prathiba Ramsingh and Paul Anders, joined by Paul Anderson from Homeless Link and Jeff Mitchell of Clean Slate Training and Employment, a social enterprise that creates job opportunities for the long term unemployed.

Latest event: LDAN Routes to Employment good practice event, 3rd May 2013

Chaired by Martin Barnes, Chief Executive of DrugScope, the event included speakers from the voluntary and social enterprise sectors, as well as Work Programme providers and the Department for Work and Pensions. Rachel Radice from DWP discussed welfare reform, the Jobcentre Plus offer and the Work Programme drug and alcohol pilots; Amber Shotton from A4e discussed good practice in joint-working with the Work Programme; Jeff Mitchell from Clean Slate Training and Employment spoke about recruiting from strengths, and Tim Sampey from Build on Belief looked at some common employer preconceptions about people recovering from drug or alcohol dependency. To conclude the day, Martin Barnes chaired an expert panel comprised of Rachel Radice, Joanne Pink from Reed in Partnership, Jez Stannard from Public Health England, Kyriacos Colocassis from CNWL NHS Trust and Paul Anders from LDAN / DrugScope. Please see below for presentations, and if you would like to discuss the event, please contact Paul Anders.