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Policy Exchange - Nail in the Coffin for JCP?

Personalised welfare: rethinking employment support and Jobcentres is a new report published by Policy Exchange, which suggests that there are serious problems with JCP in regard to customer and employer satisfaction, having a fit for purpose IT system and most of all their failure to diagnose barriers to work at an early stage thereby impacting on the effectiveness of support provided.  Policy Exchange is a conservative think tank with close ties to David Cameron, and is seen as a major influencer of government policy, so it is very likely that such a report will be looked at seriously by the government - that means anyone involved in welfare to work should also look at it seriously! 

The report recommends that JCP should be replaced by a smaller, cross departmental organisation called “CommunityLink”. The main role of CommunityLink would be identify the support that people need and get them into long term work eg a proper assessment. 

Associated recommendations are to:

  • move provision of employment services completely to the private and third sector.
  • employ new models of public service provision to allow JCP staff to set up social enterprises to deliver employment support and start to build market expertise so that they could compete with private and third sector firms when CommunityLink is created and employment support contracted out.
  • split JCP into two distinct roles during the transition - one part focused on claims the other on employment support (ala Benefits Agency and Employment Service).

More delivery focused recommendations include:

  • extending the time between becoming unemployed and being able to claim benefits to at least two weeks
  • gathering more information from jobseekers (including profiling) to better inform provision
  • using the results of the initial assessment to segment customers with each group attracting different payment rates for providers (similar to the Work Programme)
  • developing a Jobseeker Classification Instrument (this has been on the agenda for a few years now but no one has bitten the bullet)
  • developing a national CV database to monitor and manage jobsearch, which seems similar to the Kaonix welfare 2 work system

The report goes into detail about the types of data that would be collected and how these systems would work and is very much focused on Australian models.  It makes for interesting reading.  The proposals aren't actually that radical, and it is clear that there could be real benefits to unemployed people.  That makes us here at W2W Solutions think that the industry needs to take this seriously as it could easily be achieved.

 

20 September 2011


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