A report published on the 1st September by the Department for Work and Pensions that documents evaluation of the Labour Government’s Jobseekers Regime and Flexible New Deal (JRFND), Phase 1 of which was introduced in 2009 in 28 Jobcentre Plus districts in England, Scotland and Wales. This report presents findings from:
· three follow-up surveys examining longer term customer outcomes, each conducted 12 months after an initial survey about experiences of Jobcentre Plus support between weeks 0-13 (Stage 1), 13-26 (Stage 2) and 26-52 (Stage 3) of their Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claim; and
· 16 in-depth qualitative interviews with customers about their experiences of Stage 3 (weeks 26-52) of the Jobseekers Regime, as delivered in summer-autumn 2010.
Key findings from the research:
· Each survey showed that, in both JRFND and non-JRFND areas, the work outcomes achieved by customers at the initial interview were largely sustainable. In most cases during the 12-month follow-up period customers had progressed in terms of employment contracts, responsibilities, hours or salary.
· Across all three surveys, the proportions of 18-24 year olds customers in paid work at the time of the follow-up interview were higher in non-JRFND areas than in JRFND areas and the proportions still claiming JSA were correspondingly lower.
· The gap between JRFND and non-JRFND areas found at the initial Stage 3 survey in the proportions of 18-24 year olds neither in paid work nor claiming JSA had closed after another 12 months.
· The Stage 3 survey found no measurable difference between JRFND and non-JRFND areas in the "e;quality"e; of work outcomes achieved by young people 12 months after the initial survey.
· There were no differences between JRFND and non-JRFND areas in the likelihood of customers aged 25-49 to have entered paid work. This holds true at points equivalent to the end of JRFND Stages 1 to 3 and 12 months later.
· There were no statistically significant variations between JRFND and non-JRFND areas in the likelihood for customers aged 50 and over to be in paid work at the 12-month follow-up interview.
· The qualitative research findings were largely consistent with those from previous JRFND research showing that customers welcomed the additional personal adviser support offered under Stage 3 but did not feel under any additional pressure to undertake work-related activities.