Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2007): Social security - UK - New Deal

Helping people from workless households into work

National Audit Office

London: TSO, 2007 (House of Commons papers, session 2006/07; HC 609)

Employment programmes such as the New Deals for Lone Parents and Partners have been successful for those who participate, but many people in workless households do not take part. The Department for Work and Pensions needs to engage more of those people and households most distant from the labour market. People in workless households are likely to face multiple barriers to employment, and tailored, flexible support delivered by agencies working in collaboration is needed to tackle these. Government is increasingly focusing on partnership working and localised service delivery as key strategies for reducing worklessness, but central agency decisions and practices need to support this approach.

In work, better off? Next steps to full employment

Department for Work and Pensions

London: TSO, 2007 (Cm 7130)

This green paper sets out the next steps the government is taking to get 80% of the population into employment. These include:

  • Introduction of a new 'Jobs Pledge' under which all major employers, in both public and private sectors, would offer a quarter of a million jobs to people who are at a disadvantage in the labour market. In return, Jobcentre Plus, working with the Learning and Skills Council in England, will focus on ensuring that people are job ready.
  • More flexible, intensive and personalised support to help disabled people, lone parents, ethnic minorities, the lowest skilled and the long-term unemployed into work
  • An expectation that lone parents will return to work when their youngest child reaches the age of seven. This will enforced through loss of entitlement to income support.

The programme will be delivered by Jobcentre Plus working in partnership with private providers of employment support services and local employers.

New approaches to employability in the UK: combining 'human capital development' with 'work first' strategies

C. Lindsay, R.W. McQuaid and M. Dutton

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 36, 2007, p. 539-560

This article analyses recent developments in policies to promote the employability of unemployed people in the UK. It discusses the extent to which those policies reflect the dominant approaches of 'Work First', where programmes focus mainly on compulsory job search and short-term interventions to facilitate a quick return to work, or human capital development, where programmes tailor services to promote longer-term skills and personal development. Specifically, this article reports on case study research into two recent pilot initiatives, Working Neighbourhoods (which targeted a range of intensive services on areas with high unemployment) and Pathways to Work (which combines employability services with cognitive behaviour therapy-type approaches to help clients manage health problems.). While both programmes retain strong 'Work First' features, they potentially represent a shift towards a more human capital development-oriented approach, through delivery of more holistic 'coping and enabling' services.

Welfare-to-work plans watered down

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Aug. 6th 2007

It appears that the government's current welfare-to work plans were initially drafted to increase private sector involvement in service delivery by awarding 20-25 welfare-to-work contracts to private companies. The original green paper was signed off by John Hutton before Gordon Brown became Prime Minister. The final green paper published by Peter Hain considerably waters down private sector involvement. However, though Hain believes that awarding big employment service contracts to companies is 'not his preferred option', he is open to persuasion.

Working for children

Department for Work and Pensions

London: TSO, 2007 (Cm 7067)

Work is the best route out of poverty for most parents and their children. Getting more parents, especially lone parents, into work is central to reducing child poverty in the long term. To this end, the government will:

  • Provide more support to encourage lone parents to work in the shape of various in-work cash benefits.
  • Withdraw income support from lone parents who refuse to work when their youngest child reaches the age of 12
  • Help people to stay in work and gain promotion by improving their skills
  • Make the Welfare to Work programme more family focused, in particular by encouraging partners of people on low incomes to go out to work.
Search Welfare Reform on the Web