COVER's sister title WSB has exclusively revealed that the introduction of the Health and Work Service (HWS) has been delayed until December.
It is believed that this delay was to ensure provisions could be put in place to encourage GP referrals to the service.
As WSB reported previously, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) originally planned to start phasing in the HWS from October.
However, WSB has had it confirmed from two different sources that this has been pushed back until the middle of December - with one source stating it would be December 15.
The source added that potential bidders were informed of the situation in March, but the DWP has not publicly confirmed the date change.
The delay was introduced during the tendering process as the government asked prospective bidders how to increase referrals from GPs to the Service.
Ensuring there would be sufficient buy-in from GPs for the service to be a success has been a key sticking point throughout the design process.
The DWP told WSB that the service would be launched in late 2014 but would not confirm anything else about the date.
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