By Claire Johnson, Paul Sissons, Joy Oakley and Sara Dewson
The 2006 Leitch Review of Skills recommended the creation of a new integrated employment and skills service. Since then, the welfare system has undergone reform to help meet this objective, of which the Integrated Employment and Skills (IES) trials, introduced in 2008 and ending in August 2010, have been a key element. In the later stages of these trials, a new system of Enhanced Joint Working (EJW) was introduced in non-trial areas. Like the IES trials, EJW was intended to identify claimants’ skills needs through enhanced screening processes and where appropriate direct them towards support from Next Step.
The Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills commissioned the Institute for Employment Studies to evaluate the IES trials. Between September and November 2010, visits were made to three IES trials districts and two EJW districts. Qualitative interviews were conducted with a range of respondents including Jobcentre Plus and Next Step district-level managers responsible for the implementation of the IES trials or EJW, Advisory Services Managers, Jobcentre Plus and Next Step advisers, Jobcentre Plus claimants who had been referred to Next Step and skills providers working with Jobcentre Plus or Next Step. This report builds on previous qualitative evaluation work and has a particular focus on whether, and how, claimants get access to appropriate work-related skills training via a Jobcentre Plus or Next Step referral.