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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2005): Social Security - UK - New Deal

DOES "WELFARE-TO-WORK" WORK: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE UK'S WELFARE-TO-WORK PROGRAMMES FOR PEOPLE WITH A DISABILITY OR CHRONIC ILLNESS

C. Bambra, M. Whitehead and V. Hamilton

Social Science and Medicine, vol. 60, 2005, p.1905-1918

Paper presents a systematic review of the evidence of the effectiveness of welfare-to-work programmes promoting the employment of disabled and chronically sick people. Review covers five main initiatives:

  • education, training and work placement schemes;
  • vocational advice and support services;
  • in-work benefits;
  • employer incentive schemes;
  • improving access.

Overall, the evidence suggests that the schemes were successful in helping disabled people off benefits and into work. The proportion of participants in one or other of the schemes gaining employment ranged from 11% to 50% depending on a range of factors, including job readiness of participants, age and type of disability, etc.

HELPING PEOPLE LEFT BEHIND BY NEW LABOUR

D. Willetts

Working Brief, issue 62, 2005, p.10-11

Sets out Conservative Party plans for helping long term unemployed and disabled people into work. The Party would abolish the New Deals and launch two new schemes run by independent contractors: Work First for the long-term unemployed and Opportunity First for the disabled. Both schemes would offer personalised services and financial incentives to reward contractors for helping people into sustainable jobs.

HELPING THE DISADVANTAGED INTO WORK

G. Heaton

Working Brief, no.162, 2005, p.16-17

Argues that people facing multiple barriers to work need long-term one-to-one help and support from personal advisers to prepare them for entry into the labour market. Existing employment and training programmes are not equipped to deal with socially marginalised groups such as homeless people, drug addicts and ex-offenders.

LONE PARENTS, THE NEW DEAL AND OPPORTUNITIES AND BARRIERS TO RETAIL EMPLOYMENT

E. Dutton and others

Policy Studies, vol.26, 2005, p.85-101

Article examines the Glasgow supermarket sector as a suitable employer for clients of the New Deal for Loan Parents. Finds that despite government encouragement of lone parents into work through the introduction of tax credits, New Deal advisory support and some expansion of childcare provision, there are still many barriers to their employment in the retails sector. These include low pay, lack of appropriate soft skills, and the requirement to work unsocial hours.

NEW LABOUR, NEW POVERTY

B. Gordon

Working Brief, no.162, 2005, p.12-13

New Labour's welfare-to-work policies have been successful in moving the unemployed off benefits and into insecure, low-skilled and low-paid jobs, thus creating a new class of working poor. The decline in the quality of entry level jobs is due to economic globalisation and cannot be countered by government. Their focus should now be on improving skills so that people can progress up the career ladder.

WELFARE-TO-WORK: NEW LABOUR AND THE US EXPERIENCE

A. Cebulla and others

Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005

There has been a major transformation in labour market policy in the United Kingdom since the mid 1990s. The obligation of unemployed people to actively seek employment has been strengthened and the receipt of social security benefits has been tied to participation in active job search and placement programmes. The experience of the United States in experimenting with and implementing welfare-to-work programmes, dating back to the early 1980s, has been pivotal in shaping labour market and welfare reform programmes in the UK. In this work the authors track the influence of US ideology and experience on New Labour's reforms. They present the results of their pioneering examination of over fifty experiments in the US, checking whether the correct lessons were learned. An interview-based study of what British policy makers actually used from US experience builds on this analysis and the book tries to understand what kind of programmes work most effectively for which groups.

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