SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
1. We recommend that the Government should commission
a national survey of employers' recruitment practices (paragraph
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
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
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.
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
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