Press release

Evaluation of the 50+ Face-to-Face guidance pilot

Findings of a longitudinal evaluation of the Face to Face guidance pilot.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

This report presents findings of a longitudinal evaluation of the Face to Face guidance pilot. Providers in the Pilot which was commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) offered guidance to employees aged 50 and above on a range of work and retirement issues using diverse service delivery methods. The pilot ran between January 2008 and March 2009.

The main findings are:

  • For providers, being part of a well-known organisation brings advantages and disadvantages.  While the parent organisation may be well known and respected, workers’ and employers’ misconceptions may be a barrier to engagement where the Service offered is substantially different to the organisation’s ‘brand’.
  • Most providers did not access DWP’s key target group of low income older workers although one successfully utilised contacts from a previous project involving disadvantaged working age people.  This highlights the relevance of an organisation’s track record when DWP recruits service delivery partners.
  • Targeting employers was a more effective way of accessing large numbers of older workers than approaching the target group outside of a work setting.  The most receptive employers tended to be larger (often public sector) organisations.  Providers had little success in accessing older workers in small and medium-sized workplaces.
  • Only a minority of clients had given a lot of thought to retirement issues and there was a widespread lack of awareness about issues such as the basic elements of State Pension provision. There is a clear need for a service that educates older workers about later working life and retirement.
  • Delivering guidance via seminars facilitated the dissemination of information about work and retirement issues; however, one-to-one face-to-face sessions offered a more personalised service.
  • Client feedback was generally very positive with clients reporting that they had been prompted to consider their work and retirement options.  However, some were disappointed because they had expected bespoke pensions or financial advice rather than general guidance and signposting.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The report “Evaluation of the 50+ Face to Face guidance pilot” by 50+ Back to work evidence review and indicative guide for secondary data analysis” by Kim Perren, Janet Harvey, Katherine Hill, Yvette Hartfree and Matt Padley, Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) Loughborough University is published today as part of the DWP Research Report series. A copy of the report and summary of the research can be downloaded from the Department’s website at
  2. The Face to Face guidance pilot was funded by the Department for Work and Pensions to gain insight into effective strategies for providing guidance to older workers in particular in relation to their rights and options for working in later life and retirement. The Service introduced under this Pilot scheme was designed to perform an informaton and signposting function; that is, it provided broad-based guidance about a range of work and retirement issues and also directed clients to sources offering more detailed and personalised information.
  3. The Pilot targeted six areas in England, Scotland and Wales covering rural, semi-rural and inner city locations. Each provider was responsible for delivering a service in a single area. The providers were all local branches of organisations with a national identity and a strong track record of providing advice and/or guidance in domains relevant to the DWP’s extending working life agenda. The providers were Age Concern (now Age UK), Shaw Trust, Life Academy, Guidance Services and Manpower, based in urban and rural areas across Britain.
  4. The evaluation research was carried out at the same time as the pilot with both providers and clients. It covered service delivery processes, client information needs, their experiences of the service, and outcomes.  It also included a longitudinal element with clients six months after they had received the guidance.
Published 11 January 2011