Select Committee on Work and Pensions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Institute of Welfare (ES 01)

  1. In order to safeguard progress made by getting former Benefits Agency claimants off of benefit and into work through the New Deal, Job Transition Service and Jobcentre Plus, it is necessary to consider the most effective means by which to keep them in employment. Failure to do so will undermine the collective efforts of these initiatives and result in many partially skilled / trained and vulnerable people returning to benefit dependency. This would be a great waste and possibly destroy the raised aspirations and confidence of the very people that the various schemes were designed to help.

  2. The Institute of Welfare has consistently advocated the crucial role played by Occupational Welfare Officers in keeping people in work and off of benefit. These practitioners benefit both the employee and employer in equal measure whatever the state of the economy. In times of prosperity the employer has a vested interest in retaining a trained workforce through the provision of a welfare service. Conversely, during periods of economic slowdown or depression the employee may choose to make greater use of a welfare practitioner in order to help address work related or personal problems that could be affecting work performance. Either way the concept of Investor in People could not be better highlighted than through the availability of trained Occupational Welfare Officers. The confidence of the employee in an employer prepared to take a genuine interest in their well-being can only be enhanced and, quite likely, lead to an increase in productivity. Moreover, considerations of improved personal and corporate credibility of the employer are positive business factors to foster.

  3. In order to ensure that the highest possible standards are maintained the Institute of Welfare, which was founded in 1945, launched a Professional Accreditation Scheme in 1999 with the emphasis on Continuing Professional Development. This initiative was endorsed by, among many others, Sir Richard Wilson (Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service) and John Monks (General Secretary of the TUC). The membership base of our small (ie around 800) though specialist organisation is drawn from a diverse range of welfare practitioners engaged in occupational, social care and voluntary settings. In combination, our members deploy the unique range of mediation, advocacy and counselling skills in the administration of their duties.

  4. Over 1,200 students annually take the Institute's professional examinations in 37 Colleges throughout the country. The qualifications (ie Certificate and Diploma in Welfare Studies) are recognised at NVQ Levels 3 and 4 respectively by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. We are also fortunate to have the internationally acclaimed Professor Cary. L. Cooper (Pro-Vice Chancellor (External Activities)—University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology) as our President. His particular expertise on stress issues is widely made use of by Occupational Welfare Officers engaged in workplace settings in both the public and private sectors.

  5. The overriding principle of the Institute of Welfare's Professional Accreditation Scheme is to ensure that no person entering the life of another in a position of welfare trust does so without appropriate competence or ethical commitment. In seeking official Government recognition and support of our role we commend our Scheme, embracing the highest standards, as an important qualitative tool for use in the mitigation of the impact of economic slowdown.

Kevin Russell FIW (Acc.)

Registered Welfare Officer & Member of the Board

9 April 2002

previous page contents next page

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

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 31 July 2002