Introduced in April 2011, the Jobcentre Plus Offer introduced a new way of working for Jobcentre Plus districts and staff, involving a significant cultural change towards more flexibility and personalisation, and away from prescribed processes and activities. The Jobcentre Plus Offer, supported by other initiatives being introduced within Jobcentre Plus, gives greater local-level responsibility for tailoring the delivery of services in innovative ways to meet local need.
Kantar Public were commissioned to evaluate The Jobcentre Plus Offer over a two year period to find out how it was implemented and delivered, as well as the effect it has had on staff and claimants.
This evaluation involved two main strands. The first was a longitudinal survey of new Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants (in the 12 month Work Related Activity Group (WRAG)), initially interviewed shortly after starting the Offer (following a New Jobseeker’s Interview (NJI) or a New Joiner’s Work Focused Interview (NJWFI)) and then again as they off- flowed in to employment, the Work Programme or another destination. In addition to this, separate cross sectional surveys were conducted with claimants in a number of ‘disadvantaged’ groups (those with a criminal record, drug and/or alcohol problems and the homeless) and lone parents on Income Support with a youngest child aged three or four, to examine their experiences in detail.
The second strand involved case studies in six Jobcentre Plus districts with ethnographic site visits and depth interviews with staff and claimants. These case studies aimed to assess how far flexibility had been devolved; how delivery was working on the ground; and how support was flowing for claimants, including how specific elements of the offer were working and being used – core interventions, advisers flexibility, flexible menu of support.
The Jobcentre Plus Offer: final evaluation report and summary are available on the UK Government website.