Research and analysis

Jobseeker’s Allowance Online Digital Trailblazers

An evaluation of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) Online Digital Trailblazers (One, Two and Three)


Jobseeker’s Allowance Online Digital Trailblazers

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In-House Research No. 15

By Faye Clitheroe, Phil Cook and Steven Tulloch

Within the 2012-15 Business Plan, the Department set out an ambition to increase the proportion of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claims made online to 80 per cent by September 2013. This supports the government’s aim to deliver services ‘digital by default’ by ensuring that they are ‘so straightforward and convenient that all those who can use them will choose to do so whilst those who can’t are not excluded,’ as described in the Government Digital Strategy.

In May 2012, three Trailblazers were launched to test different approaches to help increase the take-up of the JSA Online service. DWP conducted an evaluation of the Trailblazers, involving quantitative analysis of departmental data to determine their impact on the proportion of new claims made via JSA Online, and qualitative interviews to uncover the views, behaviours and experiences of Jobcentre Plus operational staff and JSA claimants in the Trailblazer areas.

DWP has used the findings from this research in order to:

  • inform the Department’s published DWP Digital Strategy to actively promote and support people to use digital channels, while ensuring those who really need to access support through other channels can. Findings will also inform the digital roadmap for transforming DWP services to ‘digital by default’, including Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Carer’s Allowance and other benefits
  • inform and improve JSA Online promotional products and messaging
  • influence the design of further Trailblazer models to further increase JSA Online take-up
  • support improvements made to the JSA Online service, for example, improvements to page layout, text legibility and meaning, online help and technical performance
  • inform the design of Universal Credit as a digital service, recognising the importance of staff in persuading claimants online and signposting to local support.

DWP publishes data on JSA Online take-up as one of its Business Plan Transparency measures: The proportion of JSA claims made online increased from 23.7 per cent in April 2012 (before the Trailblazers started) to 55.2 per cent in March 2013.

Published 1 May 2013