Research and analysis

In-work support for lone parents: Using the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) (WP105)

research into In-work support for lone parents.


In-work support for lone parents: Using the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) (WP105)

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Working Paper No. 105

By Richard Dorsett and Philip K. Robins

The UK Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) demonstration examined the extent to which a combination of post-employment advisory support and financial incentives could help low-income individuals to find sustained employment with prospects for advancement. ERA was experimentally tested across more than 50 Jobcentre Plus offices and, within each office, individuals were randomly assigned to either a ‘treatment’ group (eligible for ERA) or a control group (not eligible). Such a design enables internally valid estimates of the impact of ERA for individual offices.

This report presents the results of an analysis that examines the variation in these office-level impacts and attempts to understand what factors tend to be associated with positive impacts. The focus in particular is on the extent to which estimated impacts vary according to which elements of the overall ERA package individual offices appeared to emphasise the most. In this way, some insight into which elements of ERA are most effective becomes possible. The analysis is carried out for lone parents receiving Income Support and volunteering for the New Deal for Lone Parents.

The analysis suggests that an emphasis on in-work advancement, support while working and the employment retention bonus results in greater impacts on employment and benefit receipt. On the other hand, encouraging individuals to focus on long-term aims or encouraging education appears to do little to influence impacts over the period considered.

Published 9 April 2013