By Richard Dorsett, Heather Rolfe and Anitha George
The Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) Skills Conditionality Pilot was aimed at exploring the effects of mandating participation in training, through randomly allocating claimants with an identified skills need to a range of provision. A two-part evaluation was carried out by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research for the Department for Work and Pensions. The evaluation looked first at administrative data to assess the implementation of the pilot and whether it could be used to provide valid estimates of the impact of mandation. Qualitative research was then carried out with mandated customers, Jobcentre Plus advisers and training providers to explore experiences, views and behaviour of participants in the pilots.
Research themes include:
- lessons from the implementation of the pilot
- low referral rates and reasons for this
- the need for accurate training data when assessing outcomes
- the availability of training for JSA customers
- customer views on training and their preferences for types of provision
- views of customers and advisers on mandation
- customer experiences of being sanctioned because of non-compliance with mandation
- the need of some customers for additional support rather than for training.
The report includes recommendations for policy in the areas of design and implementation of pilot programmes, training for JSA customers, mandation and sanctioning.