This mixed-method research study considered the implementation and delivery of the Jobcentre Plus Offer, as well as the effect of the offer on staff and claimants. The evaluation covered a 2 year period, following the introduction of the offer in April 2011.
The research consisted of:
- interviews with all District Managers, at the start of the evaluation, to provide contextual information for the research
- detailed case studies in six Jobcentre Plus district areas, involving site visits and depth interviews with staff and claimants, in both year 1 and year 2 of the evaluation
- a survey of new JSA and ESA claimants, who were first interviewed in the early stages of their claim (once they had taken part in a New Jobseeker Interview (NJI) or New Joiner’s Work Focused Interview (NJWFI)) and, then again, as they off-flowed from the Offer either into work, on to the Work Programme or another destination (or around the 12 month point if they were still on the Offer) to consider claimants’ experiences of the Offer and the support they received
- an additional, ‘one-off’ survey of a number of groups of claimants (those with a criminal record, a drug or alcohol dependency, who were homeless and lone parents on Income Support with a youngest child aged 3 or 4) to examine their experiences of the offer in more detail.
The Jobcentre Plus Offer introduced a new way of working for Jobcentre Plus districts and staff, involving a significant cultural change towards more flexibility and personalisation, and away from prescribed processes and activities. The evaluation was commissioned to consider the operation and effect of this new way of working on claimant outcomes. This is the final evaluation report. Read the report on findings from the first year of the evaluation published in November 2012.
The Jobcentre Plus Offer, supported by other initiatives being introduced within Jobcentre Plus, gives greater local-level responsibility for tailoring support to claimants. The objective is to enable Jobcentre Plus districts to deliver services in innovative ways to meet local need. But, the department has also made it clear that this must include the sharing of knowledge and insight, and applying learning, from this local innovation.
Therefore, there is a significant amount of activity currently focused on ensuring that Jobcentre Plus services are working as effectively as possible for claimants to help ensure that the Offer successfully delivers to all claimants.
Other measures that have been introduced by the department include:
developing our offer to ESA claimants with a longer term health prognosis (18-24 months), by testing a number of approaches to providing support through 3 pilot schemes, to help address claimants barriers to work and help them move closer to being able to get a job
developing and promoting strategies for supporting people with specific needs, such as claimants with a drug or alcohol dependency, are homeless or who have a health condition – we are also due to publish an employment strategy for disabled people and those with health conditions later this year
referring claimants who are at risk of long term unemployment to the Work Programme at the appropriate point for them