Jobseekers Regime and Flexible New Deal evaluation: a report on qualitative research findings: research summary: summary

Document type
Summary
Author(s)
Vegeris, Sandra; Vowden, Kim; Bertram, Christine
Publisher
DWP
Date of publication
1 October 2010
Series
Research report; 706
Subject(s)
Employment, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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Summary of a report presenting a qualitative process study findings from an evaluation of the Jobseekers Regime and Flexible New Deal (JRFND), which was introduced from April 2009 in 28 Jobcentre Plus districts in England, Scotland and Wales. JRFND is delivered jointly by Jobcentre Plus and external providers. It is divided into four stages based on the length of a Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claim. The first three stages (the ‘Jobseekers Regime’) are delivered by Jobcentre Plus, and last up to 12 months. If a person is still claiming benefit after 12 months, they are then referred to a Flexible New Deal (FND) provider for further work preparation support. The overall aims of this study were to: assess the delivery of JRFND by Jobcentre Plus and contracted providers; examine the customer experience of JRFND; determine what elements of JRFND appear to help customers; and contribute to future policy development.

The research confirmed that the new Jobseekers Regime had bedded in so that, by the end of the first year of implementation, customers moving through Stages 1, 2 and 3 were receiving the standard elements of the regime. Staff generally associated JRFND with bringing about a cultural change to Jobcentre Plus services, requiring advisers to work more flexibly with customers, together with a greater focus on customer obligations. But the flexibility to adapt services to customers’ needs was restricted to a considerable extent by the structure of JRFND and the pressure on advisers’ time.

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