A new provider of a £14m Work and Health programme that aims to help south London residents who have previously been excluded from the world of work back into employment has been announced today.

Reed in Partnership, is to deliver the new programme in Merton, Croydon, Kingston, Richmond and Sutton.

Croydon Council led work to commission the service on behalf of all five boroughs after the budget was devolved from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The devolution deal has allowed boroughs to commission a service provider that best meets the needs of their residents.

The new programme which will be known as Better Working Futures, will concentrate on helping with disabilities or health conditions, the long term unemployed and other local priority groups into jobs.

Reed in Partnership will begin delivering the programme in March 2018 and will run until 2023.

Councillor Stephen Alambritis, leader of Merton Council and Chairman of the South London Partnership said: “There are 75,000 people living across the five boroughs who are either long term unemployed, have health problems or disabilities or face other kinds of barriers to employment.

“The devolution of the Work and Health Programme to south London will realise the potential of our residents who are excluded from the social and economic benefits of work.”

Martin Fallon, managing director at Reed in Partnership said: “We are delighted to be working with the South London Partnership to deliver the Work and Health Programme across Croydon, Merton, Sutton, Kingston upon Thames and Richmond upon Thames.

“There are many people who want to work but whose individual circumstances including health conditions and disabilities have presented a barrier to employment. We are looking forward to providing these people with the right support so that they can confidently progress into work.”

Sarah Newton, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work added: “Everyone should be able to go as far as their talents can take them at work and we are determined to provide extra tailored support to those who need it. Working together with our local partners we can help ensure everyone has the chance of reaching their full potential.”