By Kathryn Ray, Christine Bertram, Rosemary Davidson and Lucia Durante
Wage supplementations in the form of temporary ‘in-work credits’ have been introduced in recent years for a number of claimant groups entering work, to encourage enhanced work entry and retention rates. For lone parents, the In Work Credit was piloted from April 2004 and then rolled out nationally in April 2008. It is a wage supplement paid at £40 a week (£60 in London) for 12 months to eligible lone parents moving in to work. From July 2008 to June 2010, a variant on this, the In Work Retention Pilot (IWRP), was trialled in two Jobcentre Plus districts. The IWRP was intended to test the effectiveness of using In Work Credit payments as an aid to job retention and progression, by changing the payment structure of the credits and offering additional advisory support on retention and advancement.
This report presents findings from a qualitative evaluation of the IWRP, examining the delivery of the pilot and the views of lone parents and Jobcentre Plus staff on: the distinctive IWRP payment structure; the retention and progression challenges facing lone parents and the support received; and whether and how the IWRP made a difference to work behaviour and decisions. The study is based on interviews, focus groups and observations with Jobcentre Plus delivery staff and participating lone parents.