The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) and Give Us a Chance (GUAC) have today launched a housing and employment support services joint plan outlining how joint working between the sectors can be encouraged for the benefit of tenants, residents and whole communities.

ERSA is the representative body for the employment support sector, with over 220 members and GUAC is the leading consortium of social landlords in the employment and skills sector with over 50 members.

The joint plan, launched today at the first ERSA and GUAC national conference looking at Housing, Work and Welfare Reform, outlines a four point plan to encourage and facilitate joint working between housing and employment.

The plan calls on Westminster and the devolved administrations to:

1. Recognise the role of housing associations in employment support. GUAC and ERSA are calling for greater recognition of the work and investment that housing associations are making to support residents into sustainable work and beyond. Housing association have generated over 10,000 apprenticeships over the past three years, and delivered thousands more employment and training opportunities to their tenants and wider communities.

2. Design programmes with input from frontline experts in the housing sector. Housing providers are locally trusted partners who have experience and expertise working with their tenant and communities. This expertise should be utilised by commissioners when designing new programmes. 

3. Include housing providers in devolution and service integration discussions. Often those people accessing public services have multiple needs and are being supported by multiple agencies. All local delivery partners would benefit from stronger alliances and partnerships.

4. Create a climate that enables information sharing between partner services. The employment support sector would greatly benefit from knowing the landlord and housing status for the individuals they work with. ERSA and GUAC call on government to ensure that restrictions on sharing data are reduced to facilitate a closer working relationship.

Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive, ERSA, said:

“Many housing association are already playing a key role in supporting their residents and the local community into work, in many cases working closely with the employment support sector, but more can be done. We need to ensure that the conditions allow for this work to be continued and extended.”

Lynsey Boother, Adviser, GUAC, said:

“The housing sector has the expertise and relationships to be a valuable partner in delivering employment support. The ERSA/GUAC plan calls on governments, whether in Westminster, devolved administrations or regional levels, to support the housing sector to help their residents and the local community into sustainable work and beyond.”



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Notes to Editors

1. The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the representative body for those delivering or with an interest in employment support services.  ERSA’s membership spans the private, voluntary and public sectors and ranges from large multi-nationals through to small specialist charities.  It has over 220 members, including all prime contractors of the Work Programme and a high number of subcontractors. The majority of its members are not for profit.
2. GUAC is the leading consortium of social landlords in the employment and skills sector with over 50 members
3. Case studies of people supported into employment through housing association support are available on request.
4. Interviews with Kirsty McHugh and Lyndsey Boother can be arranged. Please get in touch for more information.
5. The full plan can be found here.