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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2008): Social security - UK - New Deal

Job outcome target national evaluation

A. Nunn and others

Department for Work and Pensions, 2007 (Research report; no. 462)

This research examined the extent to which the Job Outcome Target (JOT) system had affected the interaction between Job Centre Plus staff and their customers, and the quality of service customers actually received. The JOT system was designed to encourage customers who can help themselves to use new self-service channels to look for work, while personal advisers focus intensive support on the hardest to help. Customers were also encouraged to use the telephone, rather than visiting the local job centre in person, for information about benefits claims. Results showed that the system overall was working as expected, but high priority customers were less satisfied with the quality of service they received from their advisers.

Partnership penalties and bonuses created by UK welfare programs

D. Anderberg, F. Kondylis and I. Walker

CESifo Economic Studies, vol. 58, 2008, p. 1-21

This article explores what financial incentives or disincentives are provided by the UK benefit system for couples to stay together. It compares the benefits to which a couple is entitled when living together to the total they would receive if living apart. The methodology adopted followed that applied in the highly influential US literature on the 'marriage tax penalty'. This involves taking a large representative data set of existing couples, simulating 'partnership dissolutions', and comparing the benefits to which couples are entitled when living together to those they can obtain when living separately. Results show that Income Support, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit generate partnership penalties. It is also shown that, while the 1999 Working Families Tax Credit reform improved financial incentives for partnership formation, this was largely undone by the 2003 Working Tax Credit reform.

Private gain, public cost

G. Vaux

Community Care, Mar.13th 2008, p. 30

The Pathways to Work scheme offers a package of advice and support aimed at getting people off of Incapacity Benefit and Income Support and into paid work. The Department for Work and Pensions has awarded most of the contracts to run local schemes to private for-profit companies. This has caused concern among voluntary organisations which lost out.

Sustainable employment: supporting people to stay in work and advance

Committee of Public Accounts

London: TSO, 2008 (House of Commons papers, session 2007/08; HC131)

Although the United Kingdom is experiencing high employment levels, many people still have difficulty staying in work. Around 40% of people moving from Jobseeker's Allowance into work will make another claim for Jobseeker's Allowance within six months. The Committee took evidence from the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, Jobcentre Plus and the Learning and Skills Council on their efforts to deliver sustainable employment, focusing on the reasons why people are unlikely to stay in work; the contribution which education is making to improving employability; and whether employment programmes reflect the needs of business and local markets.

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