A report is published today by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on the findings of qualitative research that reviewed the support needs of Jobcentre Plus staff in meeting equality legislation requirements across a range of job roles.
Some of the key findings include:
Most interviewees viewed equality and diversity legislation as important and something that they perceived Jobcentre Plus was committed to and they generally recognised a collective responsibility for implementing it. Interviewees were confident that they would meet the legislative requirements by following the organisation’s processes and procedures.
There tended to be less clarity among some interviewees about what the legislation meant for their own job role.
Some staff were unsure of the concept of sometimes treating people differently to achieve equality. However, in practice it was evident that staff do take into account equality and diversity when working with customers, employers and partners, and do make changes and amendments to meet individual customer needs.
Tutor-led training and workshops on equality and diversity were felt to work well as they promoted discussion and enabled staff to share good practice with colleagues. Younger members of staff were more likely to be positive about e-learning than older staff. The effectiveness of e-learning was felt to be limited by a lack of structured interaction and opportunity for discussion with colleagues.
Many staff were able to describe in broad terms why Jobcentre Plus collects customer monitoring information, although the reasons given by operational staff tended to focus on the use of this data in an operational sense, for example for customers to access job support services. Directorate staff were more likely than operational staff to discuss the use of this data in relation to outcomes, for example to see which groups of customers were more or less likely to achieve job outcomes.
Notes to Editors:
The DWP research report ‘Jobcentre Plus Equality Legislative Requirements Review’ will be published on 26th October 2010.
The research was conducted in April - May 2010 and involved 97 qualitative in-depth interviews with operational and directorate staff from Jobcentre Plus.
The Institute for Employment Studies conducted the research. The report authors are Rosie Gloster, Joy Oakley, Maria Sigala and Annette Cox.