National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation who work to enable people at risk of exclusion to live the life they choose.
In 2022, they launched Internships Work with their partners BASE and DF Project SEARCH. The programme is funded by the Department of Education and aims to double Supported Internship provision in England by 2025, by supporting local authorities to set up SEND Employment Forums using their grant awards, engaging and supporting employers, and establishing a sustainable process to improve the quality of Supported Internships provision.
Supported Internships are work-based learning placements within mainstream employment settings for young people aged 16 to 24 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Supported Internships help young people with additional needs by opening up opportunities for employment and helping them to prepare for adult life and independent living.
NDTi has considerable experience working with local authorities to improve employment outcomes for young people, but were concerned about the grant payment process of the scheme. NDTi did not have a payment system in place to input and authorise grants on the scale required, to the value of £10.8 million over 3 years.
NDTi approached Family Fund Business Services in 2022, and we supported NDTi to submit a tender response with solutions to their grant payment concerns. The bid was successful, and the first grant payments were made in November 2022.
FFBS set up a dedicated bank account, enabling NDTi to transfer grant funds immediately and keeping these funds separate from NDTi’s general income. NDTi had access to a payment portal, where bank details and grant payments for local authorities could be added by one of member of the team, and authorised by another, allowing for additional due diligence. This meant that any issues with payments could be quickly spotted and resolved. The portal also allowed NDTi to run reports with payment dates and details, which helps the team when making payments and receiving underspend back from local authorities. Additionally, the FFBS team can quickly pass on any payment queries from local authorities to the NDTi team.
NDTi has also benefited from our customer service, with a dedicated account manager and our Helpdesk on hand to answer any queries and support the team when needed, ensuring that the programme continues to run smoothly.
We worked in partnership to deliver funding to all 152 local authorities in England in the 2022-23 financial year, amounting to a total of £2.1 million of funding to support the provision of Supported Internships in England. These local authorities will receive a second and third round of funding in the 2023-24 and 2024-25 financial years, with any underspend being redistributed to a small group of local authorities doing particularly innovative work. In addition, 12 local authorities will receive additional funds to work on a Supported Internships pilot. This funding has been vital in helping more young people with additional needs into Supported Internships.
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