Brighton and Hove City Council was on the verge of signing a five year contract to tackle youth unemployment under the government’s Work Programme with one of the UK’s leading training and enterprise companies – Avanta. But the deal has collapsed at the last minute.
Using central government Work Programme funding [see earlier story] Avanta Enterprise Ltd would have paid the council to act as a sub-contractor to place some of the 1,500 unemployed young people in the city into permanent employment.
Success would have been measured on a monthly basis with payments made every month for up to 13 months if the client remained in employment. But if a client left a council allocated job before a minimum period then a fine of up to £3,000 could have been imposed on the local authority.
Avanta’s role would have been to refer unemployed young people to the council but the proposed contract did not set out a viable minimum number of referrals to offset the cost of employing staff to administer the scheme thus increasing the financial risk to the council despite a £100,000 contingency fund that had been earmarked for the project.
Once the extent of the financial risk was quantified, the new Green administration decided not to proceed but they are still exploring ways to secure £2m of EU funding that was linked separately to the scheme.
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Brighton & Hove City Council