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Better off in Work?

DWP have published a research report into a year long pilot of the Better-off in Work Credit (BWC) in the Yorkshire & Humber region.

Customers who had claimed out of work benefits for 26 weeks or more, who started work of 16 or more hours a week and whose income put them in the eligible group, could claim the BWC to ensure they were £25 a week better off.  As the BWC of £40 was recently announced as a nationwide initiative this is quite an interesting report.  One of the final summary points in the report is: 

Overall, the pilot has shown that, as currently defined and delivered, BWC as piloted has not been a significant addition to the range of back-to-work support. The question remains as to whether a modified credit might be more effective in encouraging people back to work. More work is needed to understand how best to design such a credit. For example, is a period of 26 weeks sufficient or is 52 weeks (as provided under IWC and RWC) preferable? .... Understanding these and other points would help in refining the design of this and other credits designed to support employment entry.

So ... have these points been considered prior to the introduction of the promise that everyone on benefits will be £40 per week better off in work?  We'll let you work that out!

However, the most interesting element of the report from our perspective is the damning indictment this research gives about:

  • JCP's ability to run a pilot,
  • the poor understanding some JCP advisers have of programmes and benefits,
  • the lack of consistency in approach that advisers had which is a questionable approach to equality of opportunity,
  • the poor communication that exists between JCP and customers.  

Go straight to the qualitative section of the report for the real story in this report.

We aren't tarring all JCP staff with the same brush as we know there are some good staff working in Jobcentres, but we know that many providers will recognise these key issues as typical.  What is disturbing is that there are a lot of new programmes already in place and on the horizon and this research report highlights vividly the importance of providers ensuring that their communication with JCP about the provision is effective and robustly managed.  

This report makes interesting reading ... don't miss it!


BWC Research Report

 Please click the PDF logo to download the research report.  Also available on the DWP website.

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