Thursday, October 29, 2009

The carrot works, the stick doesn't

Shorter DWP evaluation of Provider-led Pathways to Work:

What worked well:

• finding provider staff pleasant and helpful;
• feeling that the environment within provider premises was hospitable, and a
more inviting place than Jobcentre Plus;
• meeting needs, where people felt the support received was beneficial and
appropriate;
• challenging people to think differently about their employment prospects;
• contributing to people’s progress and movements into work, by providing
encouragement, financial support and access to other helpful provision.

What didn't work well:

• the way that provider staff are incentivised to focus on people who are considered
job ready and leave those furthest from work inadequately supported, because
of the way providers are contracted to deliver job outcomes and are paid
according to the number achieved;
• uncertainty about divisions between roles and responsibilities regarding the use
of waivers and deferrals, service provision and case management;
• a perceived lack of guidance for providers in operating day-to-day procedures
and for delivering particular interventions such as the Condition Management
Programme;
• the loss of support to people who may still need it to re-enter the labour market
because they lose entitlement to incapacity benefits;
• unmet needs, where the support offered was not tailored to suit the
individual;
• a lack of choice for clients regarding who provides support and the burden on
Jobcentre Plus staff when people return for assistance.
• compulsion to attend work-focused interviews was often felt to be unnecessary and did not
influence behaviour, because people felt they would have attended without the
threat of benefits being reduced. Furthermore there was evidence
from clients in the study group that sanctions can be applied inappropriately, when
people have been unable to attend interviews due to ill health.

Even shorter DWP evaluation of Provider-led Pathways to Work:

What worked well - giving unemployed people more support
What didn't work well - sanctions and market-based incentives

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