By Rachel Marangozov and Helen Stevens
This report provides findings from the interim stage of the evaluation of the ‘work-focused services in children’s centres’ pilot.
The work-focused services in children’s centres pilot is one of a suite of Child Poverty Pilots that were announced in 2008. The pilot is operating in ten local authority areas (30 Sure Start Children’s Centres in total) in England, providing work-focused services through a dedicated Jobcentre Plus Personal Adviser, as well as activities designed to meet local needs. It is running from January 2009 to March 2011.
The aim of the pilot is to test how children’s centres can offer a more effective means of engaging parents in labour market activity, moving them closer to work, and ultimately into employment.
A mixed-methods evaluation is in place to assess the impact of the pilot and explore experiences and perceptions of its implementation. The evaluation includes surveys of centre users, interviews with parents, staff and stakeholders and analysis of DWP administrative data and data collected specifically for the evaluation.
The evaluation is being undertaken by the Institute for Employment Studies.
The interim stage of the evaluation consisted of:
- qualitative research with children’s centre users;
- in-depth interviews with pilot staff and partners; and
- discussion groups with children’s centre users.
These were carried out across ten case study sites, one from each local authority pilot area.