This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Findings are published today from a qualitative evaluation of a pilot variation in the structure of In Work Credit payments for lone parents: the In Work Retention Pilot (IWRP). The IWRP is a variation on In Work Credit (IWC), with a different payment structure and additional advisory support. The payment structure comprises nine months of weekly payments (£40 a week) plus two lump sums of £260 at weeks 39 and 52. This compares with In Work Credit which comprises 52 weeks of weekly payments at £40 a week. The pilot was introduced in two Jobcentre Plus districts and ran between July 2008 and June 2010. The study is based on in-depth interviews with Jobcentre Plus staff and lone parents.
Findings from the report show that:
The alternative payment structure under the pilot was not felt to have any effect on work entry or retention because the lump sums were paid too far ahead for initial decisions about work, and by 9 months financial problems were generally less likely to threaten work retention.
The payment structure worked well, however, for budgeting. Lone parents preferred the regular reliable weekly payments when they first started work and the larger lump sums were useful once they were accustomed to managing a wage-based income arrangement.
Little retention and advancement advisory support was provided, and lone parents reported they would have liked more of this support to have been available. Staff felt that they had received insufficient training and direction to be able to focus on this aspect of the pilot.
The findings are based on qualitative research with Jobcentre Plus staff and with lone parents. The research comprised:
a familiarisation phase examining background materials with key informants (Aug/Sept 2009);
interviews with a range of Jobcentre Plus staff involved in the delivery of the pilot and observations of meetings between advisers and lone parents (Sept/Oct 2009);
in-depth research with lone parents, comprising 18 in-depth interviews and 2 focus groups (Jan-Mar 2010).
This research is one of a number of studies examining support that has been or is available to workless lone parents to enable them to find, enter and sustain paid employment, including the effects of changes to benefits for lone parents, and of the Employment, Retention and Advancement project.
Also published today in the DWP Research Report series is ‘Supporting lone parents’ journey off benefits and into work: a qualitative evaluation of the role of In Work Credit (IWC)’ by Lorraine Sims, Jo Casebourne, Laurie Bell and Malen Davies (RR712).
In Work Credit was introduced nationally in April 2008. It is a non-taxable weekly payment of £40 (£60 in London districts). It is paid for a maximum of 52 weeks to lone parents moving into paid employment of 16 hours a week or more who have had a period of 12 months or more on out-of-work benefits. In the In Work Retention Pilot district, a variant was used whereby payments of £40 were made weekly for 9 months, followed by two lump sum payments of £260.
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