Select Committee on Education and Employment Third Report


1. We recommend that the Government should commission a national survey of employers' recruitment practices (paragraph 12).

2. The crucial challenge remains to improve the employment opportunities for long-term unemployed people. We strongly urge the Employment Service to improve links between employers and this group of job seekers in order to meet this crucial challenge (paragraph 17).

3. We recommend that the Government and the Employment Service should seek to expand the opportunities for work placements and trials for unemployed people (paragraph 29).

4. We welcome this emphasis on the use of subsidies as a means of risk reduction for employers and as a job-broking tool. We agree that employee subsidies, as they operate under New Deal, are not, nor should they be seen as, a means of increasing employment (paragraph 32).

5. We welcome the two experimental projects, one in Yorkshire and the Humber and one in Scotland, which will test whether the provision of more intensive after care has a positive impact on retention or progression. (Paragraph 34).

6. We welcome the reduction of the threshold period from two years to eighteen months which is due to take place in April 2001. It is a step in the right direction. We recommend that the Government should reduce further the period for which unemployed people over the age of 25 are required to claim job seekers' allowance before entering New Deal (paragraph 35).

7. We congratulate the Employment Service on the Employment Service-plus On-line pilot. We encourage it to investigate further means of attracting more professional and managerial vacancies and more clients seeking jobs in those fields (paragraph 39).

8. We support fully the Employment Service's efforts to become a demand-led service, which is able to promote new job opportunities and assist unemployed people to meet those opportunities if both employers and job seekers are treated with equal importance (paragraph 41).

9. To focus on employers alone as principal customers would risk losing the Employment Service's distinctive role in helping the most disadvantaged job seekers. Moreover, a narrow focus on the needs of employers would be increasingly difficult to sustain as the cohort of people for whom the Working Age Agency provides a work-focussed service becomes more diverse. We recommend that the Employment Service should continue to improve the services it provides to employers both now and as it evolves into the Working Age Agency. It should not be diverted from its gradual evolution to a demand-led organisation. We recommend that Government should ensure that, in the approaching merger, the needs of employers are considered to be as important as the needs of job seekers and other claimants. The attractiveness of a demand-led approach is that the closer the Employment Service is to understanding and targeting employers' needs, the better it will be able to serve those seeking employment (paragraph 44).

10. We acknowledge the important role that temporary work can play in moving people closer to sustained employment. We recommend that the Government should consider carefully the potential impact of abolishing temp-to-perm fees for PEAs on encouraging PEAs to provide this service. We also recognise that the benefit reforms suggested by the Policy Action Team on Jobs would encourage more benefit recipients to contemplate this route into employment, potentially increasing the role of PEAs in placing the unemployed. (paragraph 46).

11. The selective nature of the US welfare system provides a stark contrast to the inclusiveness of the benefits system in the UK (paragraph 51).

12. Although it cannot be assumed that labour market programmes and models for intermediaries developed in the US will be directly applicable to circumstances in the United Kingdom, we recommend that the Government should examine whether there are lessons that could be applied to those areas, where there are high levels of vacancies alongside substantial pockets of unemployment such as in inner London (paragraph 51).

13. We welcome Wildcat's willingness to share its expertise and the establishment of the NEWTEC PIP programme. We are also adamant that the Government should be aware of developments on the part of domestic intermediaries so that their experiences and innovative ideas can also be recognised and exploited. There has been a failure to recognise fully the good work that is already taking place in the UK. We recommend that the Employment Service, through its network of local offices, should ensure that it identifies and maintains a dialogue with all labour market intermediaries and that procedures are in place for the information gathered to be shared across the Service and with Government as appropriate (paragraph 54).

14. We commend the Government for its commitment to achieving quality employment outcomes for programme participants, but the salary floor set out in the Innovation Fund prospectus is too blunt a tool. We recommend that the salary levels attracting outcome-related payments should be based on salary levels in regional labour markets (paragraph 58).

15. We recommend a strengthening in the role of employers in the development and management of labour market intermediation at the local level. This could involve the expansion of the role of New Deal partnerships or an increased role for Employers' Coalitions (paragraph 61).

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 7 February 2001