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Pathways to Work Reports

DWP have published two research reports into Pathways to Work, one looking at the Impact on Work, Earnings and Self-Reported Health and the other on Experiences and Views of Early Implementation.  You can download both of these below or visit the DWP website.

The Impact report indicates that the original pilot areas had some success in moving customers off incapacity benefit into work. However, in areas that started Pathways in April 2006, no evidence was found of any impact on incapacity benefit clients gaining sustained employment, no statistically significant increase in average net monthly earnings and no real reduction in self-reported health problems.

This is pretty damning, but there appears to be somewhat of a flaw in the research. The sampling strategy for the April 2006 and pilot areas was different, so we are comparing apples and pears! Surely if you’re embarking on comparative analysis you need to compare like with like? 

So lets go to the Implementation report which is based on qualitative research from late 2008. In light of the approach to FND and the outcome based funding that is becoming standard policy, some of the findings are extremely interesting. If you don’t want to read all 68 pages, go direct to Chapter 5 (page 33). 

Some of the highlights are:
 

  • The acknowledgement that there is a “real possibility” that payments based on job outcomes could lead to staff focusing on those nearest the labour market and leave those furthest away with less help.
  • The use of the ‘black box’ leading to confusion with who should be monitoring what and how in depth this should be, as well as how you compare providers if they are delivering totally different programmes.
  • Sub-contracting having implications for consistency in delivery and the support customers receive as “the Department has no legal grounds for monitoring sub-contractors”!  Not sure if that’s just Pathways related or not?!
  • Issues caused by the provider having more responsibility for making decisions about who should attend interviews and applying for benefit sanctions.
  • Information sharing - some JCP staff not having adequate date information about the provision and provider staff not having enough information about clients when they are referred.
  • Management of non attendance and maintaining sufficient contact with clients. 
  • The cost of achieving projected outcomes may be higher than providers originally envisage.
  • In work support needing to be more effective and better publicised.

This report makes interesting and relevant reading for any FND provider or anyone currently bidding for DWP contracts. Let’s hope lessons have been learnt ...

Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.  Winston Churchill.

 

Pathways - Impact

Please click the PDF logo to download the Impact research report.

Pathways - Implementation

Please click the PDF logo to download the Implementation research report.


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