By Jo Casebourne, Malen Davies, Sarah Foster, Pippa Lane, Ann Purvis and Danielle Whitehurst
Lone Parent Obligations (LPO) were introduced in November 2008. Since then, most lone parents with a youngest child aged 12 or over lost entitlement to Income Support solely on the grounds of being a lone parent. The age of the youngest child was lowered to ten in October 2009 and to seven from October 2010. This report presents findings on the destinations and journeys experienced by lone parents after their youngest child reached the LPO threshold age of 12. The findings are based on qualitative fieldwork in five case-study areas. This included 55 interviews with Jobcentre Plus staff and 202 interviews with lone parent Jobcentre Plus customers split between the following destinations:
- 49 interviews with customers who were in work for 16 hours a week or more
- 73 interviews with customers who were on Jobseeker’s Allowance
- 36 interviews with customers who were Employment and Support Allowance customers
- 16 interviews with customers who were at other destinations
- 28 interviews with customers who remained on Income Support, often because they were exempt from LPO
This forms part of a comprehensive programme of evaluation research, using a mixed methods approach, to assess the effects of LPO. It includes in-depth interviews with customers and staff, a large-scale survey of customers, as well as analysis of in-house and other data sources. The evaluation is being carried out by a consortium of independent research organisations, led by the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion.