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In-house research no. 11
by Andrea Kirkpatrick
This study was commissioned by the (then) Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus because of forecasts showing that the Jobcentre Plus caseload is set to age over the next decade due to a combination of demographic change and increases to State Pension Age (SPA). Most significantly the gradual equalisation of state pension age for men and women at 65 (by 2018) and the corresponding removal of Pension Credit eligibility for men aged between 60 and 65 years of age will, for the first time, result in increasing numbers of people aged 60+ claiming working age benefits and seeking work.
A lot is already known about the job search activities and experiences of claimants who are aged 50+ but very little is know about 60+ claimants or how Jobcentre Plus currently responds to their specific needs.
Previous evidence of the experiences and outcomes of 50+ claimants can be found in:
An evidence collection exercise was conducted, which included a number of focus groups with Jobcentre Plus advisers, an online survey of Jobcentre Plus staff, a small number of telephone interviews with claimants aged 55+ and some additional telephone interviews with a group of large employers. A review of findings from other DWP studies looking at the outcomes and experience of 50+ claimants was also undertaken.
Findings from the study are currently being used in a rolling programme of presentations to Jobcentre Plus offices and districts, which raise awareness of the SPA changes and the needs of older claimants. The presentations and supporting material posted on the DWP intranet are designed to encourage innovative responses to job search support for older claimants. To date three Jobcentre Plus districts have used core findings from the study to design and pilot innovative provision for older claimants. A review of these pilots will be undertaken and a subsequent good practise and case study guide will be developed for dissemination across the whole Jobcentre Plus network.