Lone Parent Obligations (LPO) were introduced in November 2008. Since then, most lone parents with a youngest child aged 12 or over lost entitlement to Income Support solely on the grounds of being a lone parent. The age of the youngest child was lowered to ten in October 2009 and to seven from October 2010.
This report presents findings from a feasibility study for an impact assessment of LPO. It provides evidence on the suitability of a difference-in-difference methodology and the use of lone parents with younger children as a comparison group. The report also presents the results of analysis carried out to test whether the common trends assumption, needed for any difference-in-difference estimate to be valid, held between the period from 2001 and 2007.
An impact assessment would form part of a programme of evaluation research, using a mixed methods approach, to assess the effects of LPO. The evaluation includes in-depth interviews with customers and staff, a large-scale survey of customers, as well as analysis of in-house and other data sources.