We want a prosperous, self-reliant Greater Manchester with high employment and a wealth of job and training opportunities.
But unemployment has been a problem in the region for three decades. At the beginning of 2020, quarter of a million people in Greater Manchester claimed out-of-work benefits, with the number steadily increasing as a detrimental effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In response Working Well, a family of services that embody Greater Manchester’s employment and health offer, have been commissioned to support people experiencing or at risk of long-term unemployment. ‘Working Well’ refers to the relationship of both employment and health and is grounded in the principles laid out in the Work, Health and Disability policy paper ‘Improving Lives’. In short ‘good work is good for your health’.
It started in 2014 with a small long-term unemployed pilot to challenge the Department for Work and Pensions’ Work Programme and create a case for devolution. It has since developed into a system of devolved and test and learn provision that spans a whole spectrum of need.
Working Well programmes have supported over 70,000 Greater Manchester residents to date, unpicking a wide range of barriers to work. Of these, over 25,000 people have found employment (July 2023), many of whom were not likely to move into work without specialist intervention.
At the heart of Working Well are the following key principles: keyworker model, 1-2-1 personalised and sequenced support, and integration with the wider GM ecosystem.