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DWP have published an early process study into Jobseekers Regime and Flexible New Deal, the Six Month Offer and Support for the Newly Unemployed which is the first indication of how the new initiatives are working.  It's too early to come to any firm conclusions but the evaluation report is quite lengthy.

The report found that due to the recession and the increase in work for JCP staff, there was a strain on resources which means the implementation hasn't been totally true to the original design.  Unsurprisingly "customers experienced delays to service availability" due to the quick introduction of SNU and 6MO and there appears to have been (as usual) insufficient training and communication within JCP to enable staff to sell the provisions well.  

The new initiatives have generally been well received but have led to an increase in the amount of information that needs to be communicated to customers.  There is insufficient time at the initial interview to do this effectively so it is difficult to promote the right initiative to meet the customers' needs.  

Weekly signing in stage 2 of JRFND has not been welcomed by anyone by the looks of it, so whether this will continue ... who knows!  The flexibility for advisers to prescribe relevant activities for customers has met with some success, although some JCP advisers would like more guidance on what they should be prescribing.  This could be partly due to the fact they don't have sufficient time, tools or skills to assess the needs of customers, a point which the report appears to have overlooked, but which would be familiar to most DWP providers.

The take up for SNU was lower than expected and the usual time constraints at interview affected how well this could be sold.  The support for professionals and executives has become more popular with the general one day jobsearch support being less effective.  With a slight hint of sarcasm we must raise the question, who would have thought that a general one day session in an area as potentially complex and vast as jobsearch would be ineffective?!

The 6 Month Offer was more popular with staff and customers but seems to be limited in what it can truly offer and the amount of take up of the different offers.  

The evaluation report contains a host of information from the customer surveys which could make interesting reading if you have the time, but this does contain a range of positive feedback from customers, despite the problems outlined above.

You can find a summary in the press release (although not particularly detailed and missing a number of key points) or can click here to download the full report from the DWP website.


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