Memorandum from the Local Government Association
The Local Government Assocation (LGA) is the
representative body for all local authorities in England and Wales.
The LGA is committed to working closely with its member authorities
to support reform and improvement in local government. The Association
welcomes the announcement by the Employment Sub Committee of the
Education and Employment Select Committee, that it is to carry
out an inquiry into the evaluation of the New Deal for the Unemployed.
The LGA has invited all local authorities to comment and this
response combines the key issues made within all responses received.
The following local authorities responded in writing to the Inquiry
via the LGABlaby District Council, Bristol City Council,
East Lindsey District Council, Gateshead MBC, Isle of Wight Council,
Knowsley MBC, Leeds City Council, uton Borough Council, Nottingham
City Council, Nottinghamshire CC and Stockton on Tees MBC. Individual
local authority responses are available of request.
New Deal is a key part of the Government's Welfare
to Work strategy, created to help unemployed people into work
by improving their employability. The service is tailored to the
needs of individuals, supporting them while they prepare for work
and find a job, encouraging relevant skills and training. Since
its launch, the New Deal has helped just under 440,000 young people
and, in total, about 200,000 people have actually found jobs.
Local Authorities are involved with the New
Deal in two main ways through partnerships and as employers
themselves. There is wide commitment from local authorities to
contribute towards making the national scheme a success as it
is in the interests of all authorities to combat local unemployment
as part of their local community strategies.
There are six main New Deal programmes, varying
in a number of ways and aiming to meet the needs of wider sections
of the community. The programmes are for young people, the long
term unemployed, disabled people, lone parents, partners of the
unemployed and those over 50. In addition to the New Deal, there
are fully fledged Employment Zones (EZs) in 15 areas of high long
term unemployment where a more focused, area-based approach is
taken. This are-based approach has recently been developed further
with 'Action Teams for Jobs' introduced in the 40 areas with low
employment rates and a high proportion of benefit claimantsthese
areas include the 15 EZ areas. The Action Teams are small, cross-sectoral
teams which are attempting to use innovative approaches to 'match'
jobless people with vacancies and overcome local barriers to finding
How successful has the New Deal for Young People
been in moving clients into sustainable employment?
As stated above, local authorities are involved
with the New Deal as partners and and as employers themselves.
Partnerships are the key to delivering New Deal and local authorities
have a long tradition of working in partnerships to deliver effective
local services. New Deal partnerships are comprised of local authorities,
voluntary sector, trade unions, training and enterprise councils,
race equality councils, colleges, career companies, training providers
and employers. They have all influenced the design and delivery
of New Deal and are vital to local marketing activity. The LGA
believes the continued quality and success of the New Deal depends
Local authorities are also involved with the
New Deal as employers. Of a total of 23.7 million employees in
the UK, around 6 million (26%) are in the public sector and many
of these are in local authorities. Local authorities are therefore
very often the largest employer in a local area and some may have
the capacity to employ a number of New Deal participants. The
Improvement and Development Agency (I&DeA) collects figures
of local authority employment of New Deal participants twice a
year on a national basis.
The following comments describe experiences
of local authorities which responded to the inquiry, explaining
what they feel are the key successes of New Deal to date through
their experience as partners and as employers.
Successes (as partners)
Significant numbers of young people into employmentfor
example, the Bedfordshire Unit of Delivery has achieved all its
targets for moving clients into employment. Since April 1998 over
1,400 young people in Bedfordshire have got jobs through the New
Deal. In Nottinghamshire, which is made up of two Units of Delivery,
the Environment Task Force has performed at least as well as and
in some cases better that other options. In North Nottinghamshire,
the County Council is contracted to deliver the entire option
and offers both allowance and waged opportunities. The programme
is delivered by training providers who subcontract to the County
Council. These providers operate in specific geographic areas
and tend to offer specific types of projects and training experience.
It is interesting to note that job outcomes on the waged programmes
(intermediate Labour Market), range between 28.7 and 33.9 per
cent, while the unwaged programme only achieves between 6.7 per
cent to 11 per cent.
Gaining funding from other sources is one role
that a New Deal partnership can fulfil. For instance, the Isle
of Wight Partnership New Deal consortium has managed to attract
a further £300,000 from the European Social Fund to extend
the Subsidised Job Option for an additional six months.
Additional supportit is important to
consider how well New Deal provision is performing not only in
helping clients secure employment, but also in making those who
have reservations about the step into employment much more confident
about job entry. Additional success can be measured by whether
the clients feel that barriers to employment are coming down.
For example, can they better handle questions about past criminal
convictions? Can they access help with literacy/numeracy problems?
Better informationthe New Deals serve
a very wide range of clients with varied needs. Most benefit from
better labour market information which the partnership approach
is well equipped to provide, given its local expertise and access
Sucesses (as employers)
terms of the employment option, certain local authorities such
as Bristol and Knowsley have made outstanding contributions to
the New Deal as employers. Bristol City Council's scheme seeks
to provide genuine job opportunities for permanent employment
rather than temporary training placements. A New Deal co-ordinator
drives the initiative forward across all directorates and liaises
closely with personnel officers internally, offering support and
advice to managers. There is also close liaison with the Employment
Service New Deal manager with regular meetings and briefing/training
seminars which the council feels are essential for ongoing communications.
The council is also looking at innovative ways to use the employer
subsidies for New Deal employees and teams employing New Deal
participants. Bristol City Council originally had a target of
40 New Deal participants but this was quite an ambitious target
due to factors such as insufficient numbers of corporate vacancies.
However, the scheme has been successful. Knowley's approach is
different, in that trainees are recruited to six month "placements"
during which time they have intensive personal development. Work
experience and NVQ training. After four months on the programme
they have priority access to council vacancies at scale 1-2. This
has been very successfulthe latest groups have had 90 per
cent and 100 per cent job outcomes as a result. The council has
a dedicated team that focus on mentoring and supporting training
through the programme. Some other authorities also seem to be
beginning to employ more New Deal participantsfor instance,
Leeds City Council has now agreed to participate in the Employment
Option and Department are being quoted in terms of recruits to
be employed under the New Deal. In the first instance they are
looking to take on 100 young people across a range of Departments.
Environmental Task Forcethere have also
been some very good results from the ETF options being offered
within some local authorities. For instance, in Nottingham City
Council, the council's own scheme is running at approximately
75 per cent success rate. In Leeds, the Environmental Task Force
has received national acclaim and continues to offer a good working
environment and workskills for which New Deal participants receive
the waged option.
2. What have been the factors affecting the successes
Factors affecting success (as partnerships)
Gatewaythe gateway gives young people
time to prepare and to think about what they want to do and employers
get a recruit who is motivated and committed to the job. Some
authorities have written to say they feel the tightened gateway
for 18-24s "trailblazers" is good as it has allowed
the partnership to disseminate the issues young people have brought
to the Intensive Gateway Trailblazer and the measure they can
use to deal with them, to all other staff involved in the programme.
Personal adviserssome authorities argue
that the New Deal's most important innovation was to assign a
Personal Adviser to every participant. The quality of the relationship
with the Personal Adviser had strong effectsgood or bad.
The role of the Personal Advisers is pivotal for how both participants
and providers assess the programmes. The advisers are also the
"gatekeepers" to optionsand in effect they have
a very powerful position. Anecdotal evidence shows that they save
the better quality recruits for the employed option, and the rest
end up on ETF.
CompulsionCompelling people to take part
in the New Deal seems to have mixed effects. At present some groups,
such as lone parents, are not obliged to take part; many think
this allows a more constructive relationship with Personal Advisers.
A trainee that is 'sent' to an option can be much harder to work
with than one who applies to come. In Knowsely, the council has
introduced applications forms for all on ETF so that there is
some sense of choicefeedback from one trainee found that
he was 'made up' because he had a job in competition with otherssomething
he had never achieved before. However, compulsion does serve a
purpose and many also believe that requiring some groups at least
to attend a first interview can help oblige people to consider
the programme's merits.
Willingness of employers to take part in the
programmethe partnerships have been able to encourage more
employers to take part in the programme.
Continuityof the same consortium adviser
throughout the programme because well established relationship
Work TastersWork/Option Tasters enable
clients to try out before committing themselves long term. Employment
Service Work Trials enable an employer to have a client working
on their premises for up to a maximum of 3 weeks which allows
both parties to assess suitability before a client is obliged
to commit to relinquishing their Housing benefit etc.
Factors affecting success (as employers)
Commitment from the topa local authority's
political support for New Deal is essential. And there also needs
to be wholehearted commitment to the aims and objectives of New
Deal at the most senior management level. It helps it there is
a translation of the top level support to the personnel level
with associated new deal champions being identified at this level
and having New Deal recruitment as a central part of their job
Relationships with Employment Servicethere
needs to be effective development and strengthening of the relationship
between the authority and the Employment Service at local level,
together with a willingness to liaise regularly.
Trainingfor some New Deal participants,
full time permanent vacancies in their chosen area of work may
not have existed. In some circumstances, trainee positions have
been created to provide opportunities to gain work experience
and qualifications. In most cases these have been successful in
enabling the client to move on into established employment, but
this has often required an input of extra fund. Willingness to
work at reconciling New Deal training requirements with internal
training programmes is essential as it provision of work trials
and mentoring support.
Setting targetsit is important to set
targets for New Deal participants early on and then continually
review their progress.
Co-ordinationto make New Deal work within
large public sector organisations, many people believe it requires
a dedicated co-ordination point and driver within, in order to
constantly 'push' people at all levels.
Networking and sharing of good practice with
other similar organisations is found to be helpful. A major factor
in success is felt to be honestyabout sharing experiences
and being willing to share hard work and not being competitive
ie. Not keeping other colleagues guessing how to make New Deal
a success. An example of this from one local authority was an
inquiry from the Ministry of Defence about the authority's employment
initiative. After discussions and much honest advice and experience,
the MOD decided to use a similar model and have now managed to
employ 10 New Deal participants.
Publicity and marketingA higher publicity
and marketing profile may help New Deal to be taken more seriously,
including highlighting successes. What appears to happen is that
all the New Deal strands are "flagshipped" early on
in their life and then left to fade into the background, rather
than constant/trickle marketing.
Factors affecting failures (as partners)
Lack of flexibilitythere is a danger
that the New Deal scheme may be perceived as inflexible as it
is impossible to solve all young peoples' problems. An example
submitted by a local authority is that of a young man with a maths
degree looking for his first job. Appointed to a scale 1 clerical
post, he followed units from NVQ 2 administration. He felt these
were far below his capabilities, yet his job role would not support
evidence for a higher level. Therefore, there needs to be more
sensitivity. In addition, there is no flexibility for clients
to change between options if their first choice was wrong. For
example, in Knowlsey there are some participants who simply cannot
do NVQ 2, and it has been a struggle to get anything less agreed
by the Employment Serviceit is strongly felt that we should
not have to fight against rules like this.
Popularity of optionssome options are
more popular than others. For instance, it has been reported that
many young people take the Full Time Education and Training option
to avoid taking the other three. It is also felt that the ETF
option is not as attractive as the employment option but perhaps
a marketing and re-badging effort is all that is required.
The whole picturethere is some suspicion
that many going into unsubsidised work options would have gone
into work anyway. What about the economically inactive?
Sustainable employmentthere are questions
over whether the New Deal jobs are sustainable in the long-termit
appears there is a higher percentage of young people coming back
to the unemployment register at the end of the four options
Careers Advicesome authorities have reported
inconsistency to access of impartial careers advice which New
Deal participants get across different Employment Service districts.
Subsidyif the job is advertised as a
New Deal vacancy, employers get a subsidy towards the cost of
taking on someone new as well as a grant towards training the
young person for the equivalent of a day a week. The subsidy has
not been taken up as much as thoughtand the process is
perhaps too bureaucratic for some organisations.
Clear about the aimit is important to
be clear about the aim of the New Deal because the message seems
to get confused on the groundis it about getting people
into jobs? Or about retention? or employability? The design of
the different New Deal programmes creates an inconsistent picture
of funding and requirements for employers to work with. When trying
to fill a vacancy, employers are faced with a number of client
groups, some with no subsidies attached, some with specific Employment
Service training requirements. This makes it very difficult to
promote employment through New Deal as a whole programme, as there
is no guarantee of a specific amount of funding, or even whether
the employee will be doing the job full time for the first six
Personal advisers' skillsalthough the
idea of having a personal adviser is helpful because it allows
for an effective one-to-one relationship, personal advisers often
do not have sufficient knowledge of their clients to be able to
judge their suitability for a particular vacancy. This results
in clients being unsuccessful in recruitment processes and, in
some circumstances, employees not sustaining their employment.
For instance, advisers are not always able to identify exactly
what's going on in a young person's lifethey are seen as
the enemy in some cases eg "they can stop your Giro".
In this way, they perhaps do not have the time to tackle deep
rooted problems, which means the employers uncover them often
without the resources and expertise to overcome them.
Soft skillsexperience of the New Deal recruitment
process has shown that even where candidates have previous work
experience, they perform badly at interview stage; this is due
to lack of interview experience, poor ability to communicate their
skills and experience and an inability to prepare properly. There
appears to be little emphasis on `distance travelled' with the
harder to help clients. For example, Knowsley MBC felt that there
is not mechanism for acknowledging progress such as when a participant
has `attended work for two weeks for the first time ever' or `arrived
on time consistently for a month'for some of the trainees
this is a major achievement. It is strongly felt that where clients
have such deep issues extra funding should be available. Nottinghamshire
CC also said that a significant number of its New Deal employees
have experienced problems which have reduced their ability to
sustain their employment. In some cases these problems have continued
beyond the first six months, in at least one case for more than
12 months. Sometimes these problems have been overcome through
concerted efforts by line managers, colleagues and extra support
provided by a dedicated member of staff.
Relationship with Employment Servicethe
relationship with the Employment Service is crucial to making
the New Deal Work. Some authorities have commented on the number
of changes of Employment Service (ES) organisation and staff feeling
this gives a problem with consistency and continuity. Knowsley
MBC felt that this was particularly the case amongst personal
advisers where there was a large turnover of staff.
Some vacancies cannot be filledan authority
said that although they have relaxed their recruitment procedures
there are still a vast number of vacancies that cannot be filled
from the New Deal client group, most of whom lack the required
skills and experience. For example, clients who have been through
training programmes to gain skill in operating IT systems but
do not have typing speeds, a skill which a large number of our
clerical vacancies require. The managers with vacancies which
they have sought to fill through New Deal, have all appointed
candidates whom they feel can do the job well and quickest, sometimes
appointing those having skills, experience and qualifications
well above those needed for the job. This leaves a large number
of clients who cannot access our vacancies, and for whom there
is no easier way into employment.
Training requirementThe New Deal training
requirement for the 18-24 age group has been a barrier to successfully
filling a number of vacancies. Managers offering a job which has
been assessed as requiring 37 hours a week to complete cannot
reconcile this with the requirement for a day a week to be spent
on off the job training, when this is not directly associated
with the job. The requirements are often unrealistic and not tailored
to individual need.
Factors affecting failure (as employers)
Despite internal commitment to the New Deal,
some authorities have found that theyhave had little success in
attracting New Deal participants. A survey of all local authorities
is carried out twice a year to determine level of New Deal employment.
The survey is sponsored by the Local Government National Training
Organisation working in partnership with the I&DeA and LGA.
The March 2000 New Deal survey has recently been extended to cover
all New Deal options. Currently, only around 28 per cent of all
local authorities are employing or training New Deal participants.
However, as the New Deal Task Force's Public Sector Group found,
there are a number of valid reasons for some authorities not being
able to employ more New Deal participants such as:
Lack of suitable vacancies
Relations with Employment Service
Other reasons authorities have raised include
East Lindsey District Council which feels their scheme has not
been a success and they put this down to the fact the area is
primarily agricultural and tourism related with seasonal employment.
They also feel that the six month qualifying rule excludes many
people who work during the summer and would like to see some relaxation
so the scheme can have greater impact. Blaby District Council
which has managed to employ a small number of New Deal participants
feel that due to recruitment problems, there have been no more
applicants and the local private company has not been able to
supply any more.
Other authorities have similar problems, for
example Nottingham City Council ringfenced 50 entry level vacancies
for the New Deal and after two years of working very closely with
the Employment Service they are disappointed to have only managed
to recruit approximately 15 clients. They have worked closely
with the County Council to run joint sessions around jobsearch
and the ways in which the councils work. They have also tried
to explain the way the council works to improve its accessibility
as well as simplifying recruitment procedures and creating substantial
support mechanisms for New Deal trainees before interview and
The LGA is keen to see the number of authorities
employing New Deal participants increase and is therefore organising
a seminar for selected authorities in December 2000 to encourage
3. How effective and comprehensive has the Government's
programme for evaluating New Deal been?
Evaluation of New Deal is ongoing and each month
the Employment Service New Deal "core performance" is
measured. The survey looks at various aspects such as clients
moving from New Deal into subsidised and unsubsidised jobs, the
numbers of clients remaining in jobs 13 weeks, 6, 12, and 18 months
after leaving New Deal, the numbers and proportion of participants
who are disabled, from ethnic minority backgrounds and gender
of those achieving outcomes; the number and level of qualifications
achieved; and the numbers leaving for other destinations, also
on a quarterly basis information on unit costs are reported.
The limitations of the Employment Service Labour
Market System (LMS) to record outcomes are well known. Many of
the numbers have been "lost" on the system which does
not record anyone who has come through on the unsubsidised route.
As it is difficult to extrapolate local authority figures from
LMS, the I&DeA measure the performance of local authorities
as New Deal employers by commissioning a survey twice a year.
Some local authorities also feel that throughout
the scheme the "goalposts" have constantly changed so
the emphasis has changed time and again. Although some excellent
work has been done, because the different strands of New Deal
were rolled out very quickly it is impossible to see how newer
options can have been informed by learning from the New Deal for
4. How have lessons from the New Deal for Young
People informed the development of other strands of the New Deal?
Gatewaythe Intensive Gateway Trailblazer
has been particularly useful in informing other aspects of delivery.
There is a slight concern however about, after the intensive gateway
week, what is done to follow through with clients and support
them having built them up during this period.
Contractinglessons from the 18-24 New
Deal have resulted in streamlining the contracting process for
New Deal 25+ and the successor to Work Based Learning for Adults
due to start from 01/04/01.
Stepping stoneonce established the options
have had greater success in moving young people into jobs, the
Voluntary Option in particular has encouraged and motivated young
people to be more proactive in their job searching activities.
ETFat the outset, the Environmental Task
Force option was seen as a last resort for those young people
unwilling to engage in anything and there was also a lack of interesting
and motivating projects for them to engage in. With time, and
applications for additional funding from ESF, SRB and other agencies
it has been possible for projects to be developed which give some
inspiration to the young people. It is strongly felt that the
definition around ETF should be relaxed so that it would be possible
to get young people in to call centre jobs, or in to IT. For example,
there are thousands of vacancies in the North West for this type
of work and it is felt that if there was an ETF project to feed
this high demand, there would be more success. It is felt that
there are fewer jobs in horticulture, and the jobs that there
are will be seasonal and low paid, yet ETF is designed to get
these sorts of projects.
Compulsory elementacross all options
the compulsory job search element has had a significant impact
on the young peoples attitudes to seeking work.
Retentionthere has been poor attendance
for interviews and the low retention rates across all the options.
In some instances more than 50 per cent of young people have failed
to keep appointments and a similar figure have dropped out of
their option within the first couple of weeks. This creates significant
resource problems for providers which has lead to financial difficulties
or an inability to attract and keep quality staff.
Financewhy is less money available to
be spent on each 25+ client who must have been unemployed for
a minimum of two years before becoming eligible for New Deal?
Flexibilitymany partnerships would look for
greater flexibility to move between options, together with a need
to offer 25+ clients a greater range of options.
Length of unemploymentwhy does a client
have to be unemployed for two years before becoming eligible to
join New Deal?
Specialist organisationsthere is some
concern about the inability of specialist agencies to help those
young people with severe problems such as substance abuse.
5. What changes are planned for the design and
delivery of the New Deal and what benefits if any are they likely
Pre-employmentthere is a need for a longer
period of pre-employment training to help some New Deal participants
make the difficult transition back into work. This would need
to cover generic work skills and the development of personal skills
tailored to the needs of individual employers, and should enable
employers to choose from a pool of known potential candidates
trained in their own processes. A source of up-front funding would
be needed for large employers to be able to do this themselves.
It would be helpful if the pre-employment was actually in a workplaceotherwise
young people will see it as just another scheme.
Training flexibilitythere is a need for
more flexibility within the training requirements, particularly
for employers who have already demonstrated their commitment to
employee development, eg through the IIP award. Individual assessment
of training needs and recognition of the value of on-the-job and
Fundinga need for more flexible funding
arrangements on the Employer Option to provide a level playing
field and redress the balance for non-subsidised groups, including
Lone parents, 50+ and young people on other New Deal options.
Soft skillssome clients need an in-depth
period of training in assertiveness, confidence building, communication
skills and one-to-one support could be helpful in helping clients
identify and play to their strengths both in preparing for and
undertaking interviews. More flexibility in ES programmes could
help overcome New Deal participants' lack of experience of normal
recruitment practices. For a large equal opportunity employer
to be able to use Work Trials to give potential applicants a chance
to prove they can do a job, it is necessary to offer a work trial
to more than one applicant for the vacancy; for some types of
vacancy this could work better if done on a group basis.
Other optionsfor future development of
the New Deal programme it would be beneficial if the Voluntary
and Environmental options had the flexibility, like the FTET option,
to offer a programme up to a year in length. This would ensure
greater job success and give the length of time necessary to achieve
a full NVQ qualification as it is only possible to deliver units
in the 6 months.
Relationshipsneed to work on relationships
and communications with New Deal suppliers and contractors in
order to improve job outcomes, and better tracking of destinations
and capturing the results.
Getting people into work has been at the heart
of Government's policy since it came to power but as unemployment
continues to fall, the challenge of New Deal becomes greater and
the Welfare to Work Programme will come under closer scrutiny.
The New Deal scheme has undoubtedly achieved
a lot, particularly in its help for young people finding work,
and increasingly, as it is beginning to concentrate on other sections
of society. Many aspects of the scheme have been successful, including
the use of personal advisers and the Gateway. However, although
a lot of people have found work through the New Deal the challenge
will no doubt get harder in the future.
The New Deal may be improved in several ways
as it evolves over time. It is currently seen by some a taking
a "one size fits all" approach to the unemployed and
economically inactive without tackling all the individual problems
of the participant. It is clear that some areas have benefited
from the New Deal more that others and it has also been argued
that the New Deal distribution matches closely with the overall
picture of unemployment. If this is the case, it will now have
to concentrate on the particularly 'hard to reach' participant
where the need for flexibility is likely to be that much greater
eg the homeless, the over 50s etc.
The LGA argued in its evidence to the Employment
Select Committee's inquiry into Employability that it is important
to look at the demand side of employment. It is felt that the
demand side of the labour market has not been given full consideration
in current employment policy and this needs to be addressed. There
is a need for a targeted local response and interventions to help
create jobs at the local level.
It is also apparent that the New Deal needs
to clarify its objectives because at present it is unclear to
some whether the scheme's long-term objective is about employability
or getting people off benefits and into jobs. With the raft of
new initiatives such as employment zones and action teams for
jobs, the picture is becoming quite confusing.
Therefore, three years after the national roll-out
of the programme, there is a great demand for more flexibility,
a closer look at demand side measures and targeted patterns of
support to suit local circumstances. In particular, more intensive
support, including job creation, perhaps through intermediate
labour markets and similar schemes, which is very important in
the most disadvantaged communities. Local authorities will continue
to be involved with New Deal both as employers and as partners
but it is clear that at the same time, they are also involved
in many other ways by helping to create more jobs and assisting
local people to find them.
Local Government Association