Memorandum submitted by the Department
for Work and Pensions (OP 08)
1. The Memorandum sets out:
the development of the new Jobcentre
how the new work-focussed benefits
system will affect those with poor health or disability;
the background to the ONE pilots
and their objectives;
and lessons, so far, from the evaluations
of the ONE pilots and how we are taking these forward in Jobcentre
2. The work-focussed benefits system is
designed to rebuild the welfare state around work. It provides
a single gateway to the benefit system for all people of working
age with a clear focus on work as well as ensuring greater help
for those who can't. So for the first time there will be a real
work focus for customers claiming benefits other than Jobseeker's
3. With Jobcentre Plus, we will build on
the experience from the ONE pilots and other programmes such as
the New Deals. Through Jobcentre Plus the labour market focus
will be present in all our dealings with our customers. In particular
we want to support and encourage a wider range of people, such
as lone parents and disabled people, to see work or their return
to work as a real objective. Equally the new service will support
employers to recruit the people they need to fill their vacancies
quickly and successfully.
4. From October 2001 people making new or
repeat claims in Jobcentre Plus offices to non-JSA working age
benefits including Incapacity Benefit will participate in a work-focussed
interview and a review at least every three years. The aim is
to encourage them to think about work, joining a New Deal or to
participate in a series of voluntary meetings with a personal
adviser (caseload) to start preparing for work, as appropriate
to the individual.
5. The ONE pilots were set up so that we
could learn how to provide an holistic service tailored to the
needs of individuals through the use of personal advisers and
helping people to overcome barriers to work. It is also enabling
us to introduce flexibility into the style of channels we use
to deliver our services.
6. The evaluation of the ONE pilots is still
ongoing but early indications show support for the ONE service
and a positive experience by participants and staff. We have used
early evidence to develop policy. Early intervention is changing
attitudes and providing help to look for work as either a short
or longer-term option. But it is too early to say whether ONE
has been successful in increasing the probability of a person
going into work.
1. This memorandum has been prepared for
the Work and Pensions Select Committee for their inquiry: Towards
a work-focussed agenda: lessons from the "ONE" pilots.
It provides the Committee with information on the proposals for
the introduction of Jobcentre Plus; the extension of work-focussed
interviews; the background to ONE and a summary of lessons from
the ONE evaluation so far.
2. The Government is rebuilding the welfare
state around work. For both individuals and families paid work
is the most secure means of averting poverty and dependence. We
are forging an entirely new culture designed to help people to
Overview of the Government's Welfare to Work Policies
3. We are promoting work by developing flexible
personalised services in the New Deals; lowering the barriers
to work; ensuring that work pays; and ensuring that responsibilities
and rights are fairly matched.
The introduction of the National
Minimum Wage in 1999 is helping those in lower paid jobs.
The New Deal for Young People
gives longer-term unemployed people aged 18 to 24 real help in
finding work and real choices to improve their employability and
their chances of fully participating in the labour market.
The New Deal for 25 Plus helps
long-term unemployed people aged 25 and over find work and, where
needed, provides tailored flexible help to improve their employability.
The New Deal for Lone Parents
offers Lone Parents claiming Income Support a comprehensive package
of advice and support to look for work including jobsearch, childcare,
training and in-work benefits.
The New Deal for Disabled People
is piloting a range of approaches to find out what works best
to help disabled people overcome the barriers into work.
The New Deal for Partners
provides partners of working age benefit claimants, who are themselves
unemployed, with the help they need to take up work.
The New Deal for 50 Plus helps
people aged 50 or over who have been unemployed for at least six
months (those claiming JSA/IS/IB/SDA and their dependent partners)
to move into work.
Employment Zones aim to help
long-term unemployed people get and keep work. Funds from different
sources are pooled and used by contractors in flexible ways to
provide innovative solutions according to individual needs. The
15 Employment Zones, operating in those areas of Britain with
some of the highest levels of long-term unemployment, will run
until March 2003. Participation is mandatory.
Action Teams for Jobs are
tackling endemic unemployment in deprived areas by using flexible,
innovative approaches that will help people overcome the barriers
to work. There are currently 40 Action Teams for Jobs located
across Great Britain.
The ONE pilots bring together
the Benefits Agency, Employment Service, local authorities and
the private/voluntary sector to deliver a modern service through
individual personal advisers. These pilots seek to bring more
benefit recipients in touch with the labour market and to change
the benefits culture from financial dependence to work and independence.
Twelve pilots were launched in 1999 and will run until various
dates between April 2002 and April 2003. The findings from the
ONE pilots are being fed into the development of the new Jobcentre
Tax and Benefit reforms have been
introduced to ease the transition into work through measures such
as the benefit run-ons. The tax system has been changed by the
introduction of Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) and Disabled
Person's Tax Credit (DPTC). These both help to ensure that work
In the Future
4. There is still more to do: there are
still nearly a million unemployed people looking for work and
there are many more economically inactive clients who would like
to work, including lone parents, older workers and people with
disabilities, who have often been written off in the past.
5. The next steps to be taken towards the
Government's commitment announced in The Employment Green Paper:
"Towards Full Employment in a Modern Society"
include ambitious targets to:
ensure a higher proportion of people
in work than ever before;
raise the proportion of lone parents
in work to 70 per cent;
improve the literacy and numeracy
of three-quarters of a million adults;
reduce differences between the employment
rates of ethnic groups/disadvantaged areas and the overall rate;
halve child poverty over ten years
and eliminate it completely within 20 years.
6. This autumn will see the extension of
the New Deal for Lone Parents (NDLP) to all lone parents who are
out of work or working less than 16 hours, bringing this service
to a further 150,000 lone parents. From April 2001, a training
premium of £15 per week is paid to those taking up work-focussed
training through the NDLP. From the same date childcare funding
will be provided through the NDLP in the first year of a lone
parents taking up a new part time job of less than 16 hours a
week. An outreach service is also being planned from next year
to contact lone parents who may be reluctant to come to a Jobcentre.
7. The new Jobcentre Plus service
will combine the Employment Service and the parts of the Benefits
Agency dealing with people of working age to deliver a single,
integrated service to benefit claimants of working age, with a
clear focus on work. As a first step some 50 Jobcentre Plus pathfinders
and 40 adjacent work-focussed interview sites will begin delivering
work-focussed interviews to the "flow" (those coming
on to benefit) of people claiming benefit. The pathfinders will
reshape the whole way services are delivered to people of working
age who are claiming benefits to offer an individualised service;
tailored to a person's circumstances; a smarter use of IT and
more work-focussed interviews. The new organisation will help
more people with finding a job than before. It will also provide
people with information on what benefits and tax credits they
can claim, when they are out of work and in work, and then pay
the correct benefits on time.
8. The new service will also have a parallel,
and equally key, focus on employers' needs and those of important
sectors of the economy in areas of: vacancy filling, skills training
and regional manpower planning.
9. The Employment Green Paper announced
a £120 million extension and expansion of Action Teams and
nearly £40 million for supported employment for disabled
people. In October 2001 there will be 53 teams in operation, and
by January 2002, there will be 63 Action Teams funded to run until
10. From July 2001 the New Deal for Disabled
People (NDDP) was extended across the country, enabling all disabled
people to access specialist help and support to find work. The
NDDP will be integrated into the Jobcentre Plus service delivery
model, as personal advisers will advise appropriate customers
of the services of their local NDDP job brokers.
11. At the Labour Party conference in September
1998 the Prime Minister announced his intention to introduce a
"single Work-focussed Gateway". Later that year a Department
of Social Security and Department for Education and Employment
joint command paper A new contract for welfare: The gateway
to work set out this proposal further (Command Paper 4102,
12. A new contract for welfare described
plans to establish a `single point of access to welfare . . .
in which everyone who has the potential to work is provided with
help to find it"putting "work first". While
accepting that this intention was not appropriate for everyone
all of the time, the introduction of a "rights with responsibilities"
agenda marked a turning point in the state's relationship with
individuals claiming benefit.
13. As a consequence the ONE pilots (formerly
the single work-focussed gateway) were launched in 1999 to test
different ways of delivering joined-up benefit and employment
services. This pilot service is described in paragraphs 41 to
54. The Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999 provided for regulations
to be made so that certain claims or entitlement to certain benefits
are conditional on the person taking part in a work-focussed interview
to discuss work prospects and obstacles to work, and to have the
opportunity to learn about the services available to help them
move towards employment. The benefits are: Income Support; Housing
Benefit; Council Tax Benefit; Bereavement Benefits; Incapacity
Benefit; Severe Disablement Allowance (no new claims to SDA have
been taken since 6 April 2001) and Invalid Care Allowance, similar
conditions already applied to Jobseeker's Allowance (Jobseekers
What is Jobcentre Plus?
14. The most significant development for
those of working age claiming benefits over the next couple of
years will undoubtedly be the advent of Jobcentre Plus. Jobcentre
Plus, building on the experience of ONE, aims to accelerate the
move from a welfare system that primarily provides passive support
to one that provides active support to help people become more
independent, based on work for those who can and security for
those who cannot.
15. The new organisation will have a new
culture, and will be firmly focussed on helping people to become
independent. It will further embed rights and responsibilities
within the welfare system. Personal advisers will steer people
towards work or training, and provide additional support tailored
to a person's needs. Financial assessors will help people claim
the benefits they need. For employers Jobcentre Plus will provide
a proactive and responsive service helping people to find jobs
and helping employers to fill their vacancies.
16. The Government is aiming this autumn
to establish some 50 Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices (listed
in Annex A). Jobcentre Plus will become a national organisation
on 1 April 2002 and ES and BA will then cease to exist.
Jobcentre Plus' objectives
17. Jobcentre Plus aims to provide:
a work-focus to the benefits system,
for everyone using our services;
a dedicated service to enable employers
to fill their vacancies quickly and successfully;
swift, secure and professional access
to benefits for those entitled to them;
a much better service for everyone
who needs our help;
active help from personal advisers
to help people get and keep work;
a better working environment for
our staff, which will be safe and professional;
greatly improved IT, accommodation
and support services to deliver an efficient and effective service.
Who will Jobcentre Plus affect?
18. Jobcentre Plus will deliver a single,
integrated service to those of working age claiming: Jobseekers
Allowance; Income Support; Incapacity Benefit; Severe Disablement
Allowance (for existing claimants only); Maternity Allowance;
Bereavement Benefit; Industrial Injury Disablement Benefits (only
applies to Maternity Allowance or IIDB if someone is claiming
another benefit from this list) and Invalid Care Allowance, and
access to Social Fund payments to people of working age.
19. Currently Jobcentre Plus will deliver
work-focussed interviews for new or repeat claims to the benefits
listed in para. 18. Personal advisers' meetings for the "stock"
of lone parents (ie those already claiming benefits) will also
be delivered through Jobcentre Plus offices in pathfinder areas.
20. Unlike in ONE areas, claiming Housing
or Council Tax Benefit will not be conditional on participation
in a work-focussed interview in Jobcentre Plus pathfinder areas
(with the exception, temporarily, of ONE sites which will become
Jobcentre Plus pathfinder sites). This is because in Jobcentre
Plus we plan to build close working relations with local authorities
and to develop a shared agenda, including improving the liaison
on Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit and a wider agenda
on economic development. If we get these partnerships right we
shall reap the same benefit as in the ONE pilots.
What is the Jobcentre Plus process?
21. The Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices
will have a three step process along the lines of the ONE call
22. There will be:
An information gathering stage.
People will be encouraged to make contact by phone and speak with
a customer service representative who will collect basic information
necessary for identification purposes. Initial decisions about
a person's job readiness will be assessed. If they are job ready,
they will be helped, wherever possible, to find a job. This will
apply to all, not only to people on Jobseeker's Allowance. There
will be an assessment of benefit needs including immediate financial
need. At this stage a person will be assigned to a personal adviser.
It is also at this stage that a decision may be taken that an
initial work-focussed interview would not be appropriate for a
client and the interview would either be deferred or in exceptional
An interview stage. At this
stage the person will be first seen by a benefit financial assessor
who will check their claim form and make sure all the relevant
evidence is included. The person will then have a work-focussed
interview with a personal adviser. The personal adviser will encourage
them to join a caseload on a voluntary basis so they can access
help available through the New Deals. For Incapacity Benefit clients
caseloading will generally be through New Deal for Disabled People
Job Brokers. Finally, they will see the benefit expert again and
leave the office with the certainty that their benefit claim is
being processed or if further evidence is needed before the claim
Jobcentre Plus will also conduct
"trigger interviews", where attendance will be
mandatory if benefit is to remain in payment. Annex B gives
the conditions for "trigger interviews". Also, like
in ONE, clients will be offered the opportunity to meet and speak
with their personal advisers on a voluntary basis to continue
working towards independence.
Work-focussed Interview Sites
23. In addition to Jobcentre Plus pathfinder
sites we are establishing "work-focussed interview"
sites. The process in these offices will be very similar to the
work-focussed interviews for lone parents with youngest child
aged 5 or over (known as personal adviser meetings), which have
been introduced nationwide. Under this system, when a person comes
into the Benefits Agency office to claim specific benefits, the
claim is not legally "made" until they participate in
a work-focussed interview. Benefits Agency staff will usually
refer the person to the Jobcentre for an interview. Although the
service is not integrated it will require close co-operation between
Benefits Agency and the Employment Service for it to work. These
sites do not have the same integrated management structures, IT
support and brand identity of Jobcentre Plus pathfinders but they
are an essential tool in our work towards maximising opportunities
for the largest number of people.
24. Around 40 offices from Autumn 2001 will
operate as work-focussed interview sites. The nine areas where
these sites will be located are: Aberdeen, Livingston, Bridgend,
Telford, Wallasey, Manchester Openshaw, Derby, Gateshead and Essex.
The sites will be adjacent to the Jobcentre Plus pathfinder areas
to help us to manage the change effectively and to maximise the
scope for people to share good practice.
25. Since the launch of the ONE pilots,
the Employment Service has invested £400 million in a major
IT modernisation programme. The programme provides 24 hour electronic
access for clients and will improve the operation of the labour
26. The vision at the outset of the programme
has been to provide Jobcentre Plus with first class IT support
for staff and clients in line with the Government's Modernising
27. In addition to access to the main ES
and BA operational databases, and office automation applications,
IT in Jobcentre Plus offices will include:
A client handling system. "Client
handling" is part of the initial contact of the client/appointee.
The information on this system will be available to all Jobcentre
Plus staff who have contact with clients. Jobcentre Plus staff
should be able to access any records in any office within their
There will be a "Better-off
Calculator" in all pathfinders and all staff will have this
available on their PCs. We have learnt from our experiences in
ONE and the New Deals that better-off calculations have a major
impact on people's decisions to consider work opportunities. It
will give calculations based on examples of jobs and actual vacancies.
It will calculate the range and level of benefits a person may
be entitled to both in and out of work. It will therefore provide
a practical illustration that most people will be better-off in
All frontline staff will have access
to the internal Intranet from which they can obtain a wide range
of information to advise clients.
New IT infrastructure. Programmes
are underway to replace the IT infrastructure within all Jobcentres
and Benefits Agency offices across the country. New infrastructure
will be installed in Jobcentre Plus pathfinder sites before they
The job bank database. This is the
largest job bank in Europe with information of around 500,000
jobs and opportunities. As well as holding all current Employment
Service vacancies the job bank includes private sector agency,
European and other international vacancies. The job bank will
be accessible to advisers from their IT workstations. Individuals
will be able to access the job bank on the internet through the
Employment Service and Jobcentre Plus websites and from the worktrain
website. The latter also includes the Learndirect database on
education and training opportunities.
Jobpointsthese are touch screen
kiosks where people can search the national job bank. Jobpoints
are currently being installed in all Jobcentres replacing the
traditional vacancy display boards and will be a standard feature
in all Jobcentre Plus offices. Jobpoints are supported by "customer
use telephones" for contacting employers or people can use
the existing Employment Service Direct telephone job broking service.
Internet AccessPCs linked
to the internet will be available to Jobcentre Plus staff and
clients. As well as providing access to the job bank and worktrain
sites, they will enable people to access sites for other information
on, for example, housing, childcare and transport.
Service and accessibility for employers
is also being improved. A new national service, Employer Direct,
will give employers a single national telephone number on which
to place vacancies and 24-hour electronic access to Jobcentre
services. Eight out of eleven Customer Service Centres are already
operating and the rest are planned to open by the end of 2001.
We are introducing account managers for employers and having demand
led and sector based programmes to meet employer's needs to fill
vacancies with suitable skilled staff.
Changes to Incapacity Benefit
28. In the past, many people were moved
onto Incapacity Benefit (IB) with limited help in ensuring that
they got the right level of support. There was no help to get
people into work, nor any support or rehabilitation. New IB customers
in the ONE pilot areas are required to attend a work-focussed
interview. This will enable IB customers to discuss with their
personal adviser the help and opportunities available to them.
The interviews also provide an ideal opportunity for people to
participate in the New Deal schemes.
29. From October 2001, people making
new or repeat claims to IB (along with others claiming relevant
benefits) in the Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices will be asked
to participate in a work-focussed interview and a review, or trigger
interview, as appropriate.
30. The aim of the review will be to encourage
these clients to think about work or joining a New Deal or caseload
to start preparing for work. One outcome of the review is that
we may find that they are not receiving the benefit to which they
are entitled. But the point of the review is work focussed, although
as in the ONE pilots, no one will be forced to consider work against
31. From April 2002, we are introducing
new, fairer and more flexible permitted work rules. These rules
will provide a stepping stone to full-time work for people receiving
Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance and Income Support
on the grounds of incapacity.
New Deal for Disabled People
32. Under the New Deal for Disabled People
(NDDP) a wide range of innovative approaches in helping people
on incapacity benefit are being tested and evaluated.
33. Twenty four innovative schemes ran from
September 1998 until June 2001 by the public, voluntary and private
sectors plus twelve personal adviser pilots led by the Employment
Service, private sector, local government and voluntary sectors.
The schemes covered a range of disabilities and areas of the country,
and tested innovative ways of helping disabled people and carers
who want to work.
34. By the end of June 2001, the NDDP pilots
had already helped over 8,200 disabled people into work.
35. From July 2001, the NDDP began to be
extended nationally, continuing to test out ways of helping people
on incapacity benefits into work. Building on the experience of
ONE, a "Gateway" is being introduced within the Employment
Service, offering a work-focussed interview on a voluntary basis
to all those newly claiming incapacity benefit. The Gateway will
encourage new clients to re-assess their capacity for work and,
where appropriate, will encourage them to make contact with the
new network of job brokers that is being set up across Great Britain
36. The network of job brokers will provide
support and services to people on incapacity benefit who want
to work and to their employers. The aim is to achieve lasting
paid employment for sick and disabled people.
37. Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices will
provide work-focussed interviews on a mandatory basis for those
newly claiming Incapacity Benefit, thus subsuming the NDDP Gateway
role in the existing 17 pathfinder areas. Job brokers will remain
the primary source of ongoing support following that initial interview.
38. Jobcentre Plus builds on the experience
that we have gained as a result of the ONE pilots and other welfare-to-work
initiatives. In putting in place Jobcentre Plus, we are building
on the lessons from ONE. This is central to our aim of putting
work at the heart of the process of claiming benefit, and at the
core of all the transactions that we have with those claiming
What is ONE?
39. ONE is a pilot service designed to offer
a streamlined service through bringing together the Employment
Service, Benefits Agency and local authorities into a single point
of contact. They seek to put work and helping people to overcome
obstacles to work at the heart of the benefit system through requiring
all new clients to consider their capacity to work and their position
with respect to the labour market prior to receiving benefit.
It was developed to try out a new approach to matching benefit
delivery with a focus on work.
To put more benefit recipients in
touch with the labour market (through the intervention of their
To increase the sustainable level
of employment by getting more benefit recipients into work;
To ensure that more clients experience
effective, efficient service that is tailored to their personal
To change the culture of the benefits
system and the general public towards independence and work rather
than payments and dependence.
40. The first ONE pilots were launched in
June 1999 for the basic model and in November 1999 for the call
centres and private and voluntary sector variants, and are being
piloted in twelve areas until varying dates between April 2002
and April 2003. Annex C gives a full list of the ONE areas
and offices. A pilot model is made up of four areas and together
these are complemented by four control areasa list of these
is also given in Annex C. Three different models are being
The "basic model"
started in June 1999 in Clyde Coast and Renfrew, South East Essex,
Lea Roding (North East London) and Warwickshire.
The call centre version, where
the use of telephony for initial contact and claim is being tested,
started in November 1999 in Buckinghamshire, Calderdale and Kirklees,
South East Gwent and Somerset.
A version of the basic model, where
private and voluntary organisations are the lead delivery
partners also started in November 1999 in Leeds, North Cheshire,
North Nottinghamshire and Suffolk.
Since 3 April 2000, new clients have
been required, as a condition for receipt of benefit, to participate
in a work-focussed meeting in the pilot areaspreviously
it was offered on a voluntary basis. People are required to meet
with their personal adviser at specific "trigger points"
(when changes in their circumstances mean that a work-focussed
meeting might be helpful).
Who does ONE affect?
41. Everyone in the pilot area who:
is not working or works less than
16 hours a week on average; and
wants to claim a ONE benefit. (See
list of benefits in paragraph 13).
People aged 60 or over can choose to join or
stay in ONE on a voluntary basis but participation in a work-focussed
interview is not a condition of receiving benefit.
42. Several organisations, including some
of the key voluntary groups such as Gingerbread, provided help
with developing the training products for ONE personal advisers.
This ensured that all ONE personal advisers understood the key
barriers to work experienced by those claiming benefit. All personal
advisers are trained in interpersonal skills in order to ensure
empathy and that each benefit client is treated as an individual
with unique barriers to work that may require sensitive handling.
Their role is two-fold as, in addition to moving people towards
independence, they also ensure that for benefit clients, especially
those for whom work is unlikely to be an option, the process of
making a claim is as smooth as possible.
What is the ONE process?
43. Start up, ONE begins with a start-up
meeting to find out a person's basic background information and
their work history. The start-up adviser discusses what kinds
of work the person may be able to do, provides job matching if
appropriate, looks at what other options might be open to them,
and identifies if they need any specialised help and support.
The start-up adviser gives them the forms to claim benefits, and
arranges for them to see a personal adviser within four days.
44. The client is informed at this stage
of what evidence they need to bring along to their personal adviser
meeting. They are then given an appointment date and time. Where
an immediate meeting with a personal adviser is inappropriate
the meeting will be deferred for a period of time or, in exceptional
cases, waived altogether.
45. Personal adviser meeting, the
next stage is the first personal adviser meeting. The personal
adviser discusses and agrees action plans with clients to help
them move towards work and become independent of benefits. The
personal adviser offers:
help with finding work as appropriate;
training to help them become ready
help with claiming benefits and child
help with special problems, such
as basic skills courses or debt counselling.
46. The personal adviser can also give information
about other benefits. While the meeting with the personal adviser
is taking place the person's claim forms and evidence are passed
to the relevant benefit expert. This is so the forms can be checked
at the same time and if any further information is needed to process
the benefit claim the person can be asked for this information
before they leave the office.
47. Follow-up meetings, people are
encouraged to continue to see their personal adviser through follow-up
meetings when they need to discuss help with getting a job; specialists
needs; questions about benefits, or if their circumstances have
How do the three models work?
48. The basic model pilot was started
in June 1999. It provides 'start-up" and "personal adviser"
meetings for those entering ONE. The start-up meeting will take
place at a "ONE" centre, which may be a Benefits Agency,
Employment Service or local authority office. At the end of the
start-up meeting an appointment will normally be made for a meeting
with a personal adviser.
49. The call centre variant began
in November 1999, and follows the basic model, but is testing
the impact of providing part of our service by telephone, including
data gathering. The call centre pilots are making use of current
technology, such as the scripted client handling systems and the
integrated electronic claim form to support delivery. In delivering
"start-up", the call centre splits the phone call in
two (a short incoming call, followed by the full "start-up"
in an arranged call-back). This enables the demand of incoming
calls to be managed and allows the full interview to be conducted
at our expense, and at a time that suits the client. The adviser
takes the benefit claim over the telephone and people are sent
a copy of the benefit claim form pre-printed with the details
that they have provided, together with advice about what to do
next, ie items to bring to the personal adviser meeting. The personal
adviser interviews are then carried out face-to-face, as in the
50. The service operates using a local call
rate for incoming calls and is available from 8.30 am to 6.00
pm Monday to Friday. The call centre variant uses technology to
manage the intake of in-bound calls from clients. If the site
is busy, the call will be transferred to another site. The start-up
adviser at the other site will take the incoming call and book
a call-back at the client's "home" site.
51. A residual start-up service is offered
face to face to those who cannot or prefer not to use the phone.
Private phones are available in ONE and other Employment Service/Benefits
Agency/local authority sites within the pilot areas for those
who do not own one; for people with hearing difficulties a minicom
service is available in the call centre. A translation service
is also available in the call centre.
52. The private and voluntary sector
variant also began in November 1999. It aims to incorporate the
enthusiasm, expertise and knowledge of the private and voluntary
sector to develop innovative and flexible ways of delivering "ONE"
in four of the twelve pilot areas. The organisations are listed
in Annex C. These organisations work in close partnership
with the public sector to provide a seamless delivery.
53. The private and voluntary sector providers
are expected to meet the specific needs of all of the client
groups and are expected to provide the "ONE" service
to the same standard as the other pilots.
Extension of the ONE pilots
54. It would have been possible to bring
the ONE pilots to a conclusion at the end of March 2002. However,
that would have resulted in returning to the old approach. The
improved ONE is moving us closer to the new Jobcentre Plus service
than our standard ES/BA operations and because of that we have
decided to keep track of progress for a further year. In that
time we will reflect further on how to bring the ONE areas into
the Jobcentre Plus regime. In addition, the early experiences
of ONE have influenced both the design of the new Jobcentre Plus
service and improvements in the design of ONE itself. This enables
us to test our future approach for a better client-focussed service
and we can still learn from the experience of the ONE pilots.
We have also offered the private and voluntary sector providers
an extension to their contracts of one year from April 2002; at
the end of such a contract period we will have more concrete plans
about how and at what rate we will extend Jobcentre Plus across
How is ONE being evaluated?
55. The ONE evaluation comprises four complementary
a delivery evaluation, investigating
how ONE is implemented;
a policy evaluation exploring the
impact of the service on labour market outcomes;
cost-benefit analysis, and
a database evaluation, monitoring
information on administrative records.
56. The evaluation of ONE has two main aims:
(i) To test the feasibility of delivering
ONE in the different variations (the basic model and its two variants,
the call centre and private/voluntary sector models); and
(ii) To test the effectiveness of the different
models in improving both the quality and quantity of the labour
market participation of people of working age.
57. The first results from the ONE evaluation
were published on 30 November 2000 in three reports: "Why
not ONE?", "First effects of ONE" and "ONE
basic model pilot and control areas, analyses from the ONE evaluation
database voluntary phase." It should be emphasized that all
three reports provide findings from the ONE evaluation for the
period when the pilots were voluntary. The broad findings from
this research indicate support for the ONE service and a positive
experience of claiming by those who chose to participate. There
is also evidence that early intervention is changing attitudes
and providing help to look for work as either a short or longer-term
A further two reports were published
in June 2001: "Recruiting Benefit Claimants" and "Moving
towards Work". These reports, which are the first since full
participation began (in April 2000), cover the attitudes of employers
to the groups served by ONE and clients' experiences of the ONE
service. A further two reports were published in October 2001:
"The Medium-term Effects of Voluntary Participation in ONE"
and "Recruiting Benefit Claimants: A Qualitative Study of
Employers who Recruited Benefit Claimants".
59. The published research reports from
the voluntary stage are:
(i) DSS Research Report no. 126, "First
Effects of ONE", Part One: Survey of Clients, Part Two: Qualitative
Research with Clients.
(ii) DSS Research Report no. 127, "Why
Not ONE?" Views of Non-Participants before Full Participation.
(iii) "ONE Basic Model Pilot and Control
Areas: Analysis from the ONE Evaluation Database Voluntary Phase
28 June 199931 March 2000", available on www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/online.
(iv) DWP Research Report no. 149, "The
Medium-term Effects of Voluntary Participation in ONE".
60. And from the full participation stage:
(i) DSS Research Report no. 139, "Recruiting
Benefit Claimants: A Survey of Employers in ONE Pilot Areas".
(ii) DSS Research Report no. 140, "Moving
towards Work: The Short-term Impact of ONE".
(iii) DWP Research Report no. 150, "Recruiting
Benefit Claimants: A Qualitative Study of Employers who Recruited
(iv) DWP In House Series no. 84, "Delivering
A Work-Focussed Service: Interim Findings from the ONE Case Studies
and Staff Research".
61. Quantitative information on the medium-term
labour market effects (nine months after joining ONE during the
voluntary phase) should be available in autumn 2001.
62. For the full participation stage of
the pilots, quantitative information on the immediate labour market
effects should be available in autumn 2001, and for medium-term
effects in winter 2001-02. (The report on the medium-term effects
may not be published until the end of 2002, if the Secretary of
State decides to extend the analysis to be conducted for this
63. Final results from the evaluation are
due in the second half of 2002 and this will include findings
from the cost benefit analysis.
64. A summary of the evaluation findings,
so far, is provided in Annex D.
Attitudes and expectations of work-focussed meetings:
what works and what doesn't
65. Listed are findings from research so
far on clients' attitudes and expectations of the work-focussed
approach to claiming benefit. It is currently too early to tell
whether ONE has been successful in its objective of increasing
the probability of a client entering into employment. Initial
quantitative evidence on the employment effects will be available
at the end of 2001.
66. It should also be noted that compulsory
work-focussed interviews were not fully up and running during
the majority of the period being analysed. Results may therefore
underestimate the potential impact.
What works in ONE
Clients viewed personal advisers
and start-up as friendly and helpful and appreciated "personal"
Generally, clients considered the
call centre to be highly convenient (especially those in rural
areas or with access problems eg people with physical disabilities,
or those with children). Clients' experience of making a claim
electronically was positive, as they did not have to deal with
unwieldy and complicated forms. They also preferred the privacy
and security of making their claim by telephone at their convenience,
allowing time to gather relevant information and have the call-back
completed when they wanted it. Although some clients expressed
a preference for face-to-face meetings at start-up (which seems
to point towards the need to continuing a face-to-face service
for a small number of clients).
Clients were positive about the benefits
that ONE offered them during initial meetings. They appreciated
the help they received at the start of their claim and the discussion
about benefit eligibility and in-work benefits.
Discussing benefits first gives clients
peace of mind, resulting in the clients being more comfortable
about going on to discuss work.
Lone parents who had a better-off
calculation were over three times as likely to be in work as other
clients, as the client felt more supported in the jump from benefit
Those who had dependent children
and who discussed childcare were nearly twice as likely to be
in work as other clients with children.
Where a good relationship was established
between a client and personal adviser, the client was more likely
to seek further advice and assistance. Many clients felt confident
that their personal adviser would be supportive if they felt they
needed further assistance or if they wanted to return to work.
Personal advisers helped job-ready
clients develop more targeted job search strategies, increasing
clients' self-confidence, as well as their confidence in their
job search and work goals. Many subsequently moved into work or
started vocational training.
Among those who had contacted an
office during the later stages of their claim, both lone parents
and sick or disabled ONE participants continued to give more favourable
assessments than non-participants of the service they had received.
One of the biggest impacts of ONE
was on clients who had recently lost a partnereither through
bereavement or separation. The space and sympathy personal advisers
gave to these clients helped them to deal with their situations
and reflect on their next steps, including whether they may be
able to consider work later.
Among those who said work was not
an option (mainly carers, lone parents or sick or disabled clients)
personal advisers were able to change some clients' attitudes
to the possibility of work. Exploring the different options available
and discussing previous work experience enabled a few clients
to feel that work was a realistic option.
Clients appreciated the time personal
advisers devoted to checking claim forms and resolving any queries.
They especially welcomed guidance on when they could expect to
receive their payments and appreciated personal advisers' honesty
where their knowledge of the benefit being claimed was patchy.
Where they were present, the development
of trained benefit experts enabled personal advisers to concentrate
on work activities, safe in the knowledge that benefit issues
were being dealt with.
What doesn't work in ONE
There are a number of findings which are being
addressed as we move towards the launch of Jobcentre Plus.
Clients felt advisers did not always
have the skills to address complex benefit issues or explore how
their personal circumstances might affect their ability to find
Findings from the staff and client
research indicate that advisers sometimes didn't have either the
full range of skills or enough time to identify and address clients'
needs, undertake appropriate discussions about work, nor to refer
clients to relevant specialist provision, or undertake caseloading.
(Work is currently being undertaken to improve this.)
Communication of ONE was sometimes
unclearhence clients' expectations varied and some people
did not understand what the service could offer them.
Some clients for whom work was not
an immediate option eg widows, full-time carers or those recently
incapacitated thought that the timing of the work-focussed interview
was inappropriate. They would have preferred to have had the meeting
once their situation had stabilised and they were able to focus
on work issues.
Also, the impact of ONE on the attitudes
and behaviour of these clients (who saw work as an option for
the future) was limited, as discussions with personal advisers
tended to concentrate on benefits rather than work.
Some personal adviser meetings lasted
between 15-30 minutes, where they were intended to be around 45
minutes. Clients assumed that this was because staff are very
busy, although it did affect the time spent on talking about work.
Research has shown that in reality
clients did not have much of a follow-up contact with personal
Advice about jobs was not a significant
factor in determining whether a lone parent; sick or disabled
client would find work. Jobseekers who were given job or in-work
benefit advice were less likely to be in work 10 months after
beginning their claim than other clients, although this may be
because those who were given advice may have been the "hardest
ONE did not seem to challenge or
change expectations of those jobseekers with previous experience
of claiming. They mostly saw the ONE service as the same as the
usual JSA process. Some even thought that the advice offered through
ONE was not up to the standard of the previous JSA process.
How have we changed ONE
67. Experience and the lessons from the
early evaluation of the pilots showed the need to make changes
in some areas and many of these have been implemented over the
past few months. For example we have set minimum standards and
processes are in place to improve the service.
68. We recently introduced in ONE a more
sensitive and active deferral policy for some sick and disabled
clients, and for those recently widowed, while safeguarding any
immediate benefit needs. This will be adopted in Jobcentre Plus.
This means that the mandatory personal adviser meeting will take
place at a point at which the person will be in a better position
to benefit from it.
69. In ONE the original target was for each
new client to be booked in to see a personal adviser within three
days of making a claim to benefit. This has proved to be unrealistic
in some instances. ONE has now adopted a policy of working towards
three days but with the option of going to the fourth day. This
will reduce pressure on the front end of the process during particularly
busy periods, and avoid lengthy waiting times and rushed meetings.
Jobcentre Plus also has a standard of seeing clients within four
days of making a claim.
How we have learnt from ONE in developing Jobcentre
70. It is important to remember that the
evaluation of ONE has not yet finished and that this will continue
to feed into the development of Jobcentre Plus as we move into
developing the regime beyond the pathfinders. That notwithstanding,
there are several lessons from ONE already being factored into
the Jobcentre Plus process.
71. It has become clear from ONE that more
effective discussions can be held about work if benefits have
been dealt with first. The Jobcentre Plus process has been designed
around this principle. The introduction of a separate meeting
with a financial assessor prior to the work-focussed interview
should ensure that the personal adviser meeting can focus on tackling
a client's barriers to work as well as reassuring them that their
benefit claim is being looked after.
72. We have learnt that clients prefer the
privacy and convenience of using the telephone, while a minority
still prefer to have a face-to-face meeting. In Jobcentre Plus
we have built the service around a call centre process, but anyone
who does not want to use the telephone can see someone face to
73. Experience also shows that it is necessary
to have some personal advisers with a specialisation. In Jobcentre
Plus some of the advisers will have specialist knowledge in dealing
with clients such as lone parents or people with an incapacity.
74. Unlike ONE, Jobcentre Plus will have
a "three-year trigger regime" which will enable us to
continue our contact with those of our clients who are hardest
to reach, such as carers and people on Incapacity Benefit. Under
ONE some of these clients never became eligible for an additional
work-focussed interview under the "life event trigger regime"
and so this additional three-year trigger will prevent many individuals
simply returning to a life of benefit dependency after the initial
75. Both ONE and Jobcentre Plus want to
encourage the maximum number of benefit clients to volunteer for
additional interventions with their personal advisersto
become part of their personal adviser's "caseload".
Caseloading is one of the least successful areas of the ONE process
as often advisers' caseloads were too full of JSA clients to provide
the necessary intensive help that clients to other benefits might
need to find work, and staff did not have time to do the work.
Both ONE and Jobcentre Plus are now attempting to target their
caseloading resources on those more in need of helpeconomically
inactive clientsand only providing additional support to
JSA clients for whom it is clear that there is a specific barrier
which can be overcome through additional interventions. Crucial
to Jobcentre Plus' success in caseloading will be the development
of an Action Plan for each client which will set out steps and
time frames within which both client and adviser will work together
to move the individual towards work.
76. In ONE the guidance for staff is mainly
in hard copy and very lengthy. It is also at times not clear.
In Jobcentre Plus guidance for advisers will be available electronically
through the advisers' desk-top computers. This guidance can be
regularly updated and makes it significantly easier to access
information. Part of this guidance is focussed on the specific
needs of individual client groups (including sick and disabled
clients) which would have benefited staff in ONE areas who were
not used to dealing with non-JSA clients and found the guidance
did not always make clear what they should expect.
77. When the ONE pilots began, they were
expected to operate within an environment where there was little
incentive to move those further from the labour market into work.
A lack of specific ONE placing targets may have encouraged advisers
to focus on those who would move quickly into work and therefore
allowed benefit issues to dominate for all other clients. The
recent priority given to economically inactive clients in the
target regime for the Employment Service has gone some way towards
redressing this imbalance but more is needed. Jobcentre Plus needs
to address this to establish proper balance between rights and
responsibilities in the system. The target regime intended for
Jobcentre Plus will take this into account.
78. The ONE pilots operated with a single
management chain with a dual accountability regime on behalf of
the Benefits Agency and the Employment Service. Jobcentre Plus
pathfinders will have a single integrated management structure.
Annex A Jobcentre Plus pathfinder locations
Annex B Trigger regime for work-focussed interviews
Annex C ONE pilot areas
Annex D Summary of findings from the ONE evaluation
Annex E Working Agefacts and figures
1 This excludes these with sensory disabilities (such
as hearing/speaking problems). Back
Please note management actions have been taken to improve all
of the areas identified in this list. For example, targets for
deferral of clients for whom work-focussed meetings were inappropriate
have now been removed. Back