Personalising welfare to work: the case for personal welfare budgets

Document type
Tarr, Amy
Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion
Date of publication
1 February 2011
Employment, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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This report looks at the evidence to support personal welfare budgets (PWBs) and the value of giving people greater control and choice in their day to day living. Drawing on domestic and international evidence, the author aims to demonstrate that personalisation at the commissioning level encourages positive engagement among target groups. The paper argues that, by allowing Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants the opportunity to manage their own budget from which they can build their own support packages, providers have a better chance of improving performance against job-outcome targets and delivering a programme that works for this new category of active jobseeker.

The paper outlines proposals for assessment and support planning in the PWB model, which focus on encouraging the individual to identify their own employment goals and any barriers to work they might have, before taking the reins in constructing a support plan to achieve their aspirations and overcome any hurdles they face. The main aim of PWBs is to introduce a new method of commissioning that recognises the value of personalisation and user control. We believe the evidence illustrates that performance gains can be made if Work Programme providers adopt this innovative approach to planning and investment in employment support.

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