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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2009): Social security - UK - New Deal

Delivering welfare to work: staff views and practices

S. O'Sullivan

Working Brief, May 2009, p. 16-18

In December 2008, 1,196 employment services professionals in the UK were surveyed by researchers based at Melbourne University as part of the Activating States project. The results suggest that the sector is a reasonably stable employer and that professionals spend most of their time in contact with clients. The research also found that many clients face challenging barriers to employment, such as mental health problems, and that sanctions are used regularly to achieve compliance.

Differential pricing in contracted out employment programmes: review of international evidence

D. Finn

Department for Work and Pensions, 2009 (Research report; no.564)

Employment programmes are designed to provide enhanced assistance to service users facing particular barriers to finding a job. Evidence suggests that most programmes, whether delivered by public agencies or private contractors, are less effective in meeting the needs of the 'hardest to help'. This outcome is due in part to payment by results systems which encourage providers to work most with those who are most easily placed and to provide a minimal service to the harder to help. This report reviews ways in which programmes in four countries used financial incentives to encourage providers to target assistance on the harder to help.

Past lessons for future jobs

D. Simmonds

Working Brief, May 2009, p. 3-4

This article looks at the Future Jobs Fund and at lessons learned from earlier job creation programmes such as the Community Programme (1982-88), Community Action (1993-96), StepUp (2002-04) and Intermediate Labour Markets. The Future Jobs Fund invites bids from organisations, including local authorities, charities and social enterprises, for money to create extra jobs for unemployed young people or in unemployment hotspots. The jobs must deliver work that benefits local communities and last for at least six months. (For more details of the Future Jobs Fund see Working Brief, May 2009, p. 10-12)

Tackling worklessness: a review of the contribution and role of English local authorities and partnerships

S. Houghton

Department for Work and Pensions, 2009

The review team were asked to examine how English local authorities and their partners could do more to tackle worklessness. They argue that local authorities and local strategic partnerships should be central to tackling worklessness. Local authorities and local strategic partnerships with the highest levels of worklessness (the 65 authorities receiving the Working Neighbourhoods Fund) have demonstrated that they can make a real difference. For example, Working Neighbourhoods Fund areas have accounted for 71% of the reduction in Incapacity Benefit claimants in England since 2004. However, the report argues that existing measures are not proving sufficiently successful. It concludes that:

  • Local authorities and their partners need maximum flexibility to identify and spend funds in a way that will have most impact
  • The government should put in place a clearer framework for integrating skills and employment, with wider support for workless people, involving Worklessness Assessments conducted by every local authority, Work and Skills Plans for authorities and partnerships that want to align budgets and co-commission services, and Work and Skills Integrated Budgets for those areas with strong partnerships already.
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