By Anne Conolly, Naomi Day, Jon Hales, Rachel Kinsella and William O’Connor
This report explores the operation of client choice in Multiple Provider Employment Zones (MPEZs). In 2004, MPEZs were established in six of the largest EZ areas, but only volunteers (lone parents and those on Pension Credit) to the programme were given a choice of provider. Since April 2007, this choice was extended to mandatory clients claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in MPEZs.
The research aimed to explore the process of client choice within MPEZs from the perspective of clients (both mandatory and voluntary), Jobcentre Plus staff and EZ provider staff. The report examines the process of choice following the introduction of choice for all clients, client experience of choice and the factors that underpin an informed choice, and the factors clients take into account when choosing a provider. The research also explores the operational implications of choice for EZ providers and Jobcentre Plus and the difference that choice makes to clients, including the value placed on being offered a choice of provider.