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Work-Focused Services in Children's Centres

Between January 2009 and March 2011 JCP offered a Personal Adviser service within 30 children's centres across the country to help parents move into work.  In some areas the relationship has been so positive that the service continues even though the pilot has ended.  After the bad news on the Skills Conditionality pilot (see previous news) this pilot has had a bit more success.  This another of those news items that is relevant for potential ESF for Families providers.

The ten Local Authorities involved in the Pilot were Blackpool; Ealing; Kingston-upon-Hull; Lambeth; Nottingham City; Redcar and Cleveland; Sandwell; Somerset; Southampton; Westminster.

There is some positive feedback about JCP staff, with customers reporting that advisers were accessible, empathetic and understanding, friendly and approachable, trustworthy, knowledgeable and helpful, and had more time to dedicate to them in comparison to their experiences at the Jobcentre.  The pilots also seemed to change the focus of the users of  children's centres who were more likely to be looking for work that users of centres who weren't running the pilot. Another positive outcomes was better partnership working between JCP and Children's Centres - seems a bit like stating the obvious there!

A key recommendation is to strengthen the JCP offer in children's centres and to develop flexibility within the JCP Adviser role.

A worrying finding for ESF for Families is the time taken to embed work-focused services in a multi-agency setting. The pilot experience was that it takes on average nine months for an initiative like this to bed-in, and at least a year to establish effective working relationships with key partner organisations.  This doesn't bode well for any organisation who hasn't secured a supply chain which has extensive existing relationships with all agencies involved with families!

Click here to download the full research report.


5 September 2011

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