The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is expected to put out its tenders for private companies to run elements of the Health and Work Service (HWS) this week.
Earlier this week the DWP confirmed it planned to launch the tendering process later this month.
However, COVER sister's title WSB understands that this could begin as early as this week, potentially Thursday.
The formal launch of the tenders will provide greater information about how the DWP expects the service to be operated.
As WSB first reported in November, the Health and Work Service is expected to consist of two elements:
- generic health and work advice primarily through a website and also a telephone line available to all employers, employees or GPs;
- the assessment service which will provide an occupational health assessment for employees who have been, or are likely to be, on a period of sickness absence lasting four weeks.
It is expected that the tendering process will also suggest whether the service is to be rolled out in stages or nationally.
At present it is believed the first implementation areas will run from October 2014 to January 2015 and will incorporate two regions in England along with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The rest of the country should be covered by April 2015.
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