By Rita Griffiths
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) introduced and extended a range of policy measures targeted at lone and couple parents under the banner of New Deal Plus for Lone Parents (NDfLP), including In Work Credit (IWC). This was in response to the Harker review conducted for the Department in 2006 and aimed to increase parental employment as well as reduce child poverty.
The aim of the evaluation overall was to explore whether the measures offered an adequate package of support to parents and if the measures, either collectively or individually, encouraged them to enter and sustain work.
This report covers the first phase of the two-part qualitative evaluation, including early implementation, delivery and operational issues, together with awareness and use of NDfLP and IWC by Jobcentre Plus staff and couple parents, including ‘main claimant’ parents and ‘partner’ parents.
Fieldwork involved case studies in two pilot areas, one in London and one outside of London, approximately one year after the last of the measures was introduced. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 61 couple parents, of whom 31 were main claimant parents and 30 partner parents. Face-to-face and telephone interviews were also carried out with Jobcentre Plus staff involved in the pilot and wider delivery of the measures. In addition, three focus group discussions were held with advisory staff, including Lone Parent Advisers and mainstream advisers.