In response to the Government’s initiative on Troubled Families, Brighton & Hove Council and partners undertook a short and sharp scoping exercise on how they are need to move forward locally. Alongside in-house research, mapping of service provision and customer journey analysis, we were commissioned to review service delivery models and the associated evidence base on cost-effectiveness. This work featured a review of the ‘direction of travel’ in Community Budget areas and innovative approaches, along with commentary on evidence on cost-effectiveness and summaries of the evolving policy context and knowledge on ‘what works’ in working with families with multiple disadvantage. The review highlighted a number of key issues including:
- finding the money to respond to central government’s offer of up to 40% costs – demanding a well-evidenced business case and means of ensuring fairer sharing of costs and benefits amongst local partners
- strengthening mechanisms for reducing ‘flows’ of families from lower risk groups into situations requiring crisis/ high costs responses
- integrating resources for tackling worklessness (Jobcentre Plus, ESF Families Programme, Work Programme)
- exploring further how families themselves can shape provision and local communities play supportive roles
- ensuring that the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise are in place: not just in working with families, but also in co-design, analysis and evaluation
- translating the costs that are avoided into actual cashable efficiencies that contribute to savings or can be reinvested in activities offering better returns
Permanent link to this article: https://www.educe.co.uk/?p=282
DWP have worked with local authorities, Jobcentre Plus and local partners in five areas to develop Co-Design Pilots, testing new solutions in tackling worklessness – in a world where local authorities are had to rethink their role, given much reduced resources and the advent of the Work Programme and Community Budgets. The pilots were in Birmingham, Bradford, Lewisham, South Tyneside and Swindon. New ways of working variously related to, eg, working with families; Jobcentre Plus outreach; key workers; personal budgets; social enterprise for employability; and employer engagement; and a youth employment campaign. On behalf of Local Government Improvement and Development – since absorbed within the Local Government Association
, we supported the pilots and wider dissemination. We set out to:
- bring together knowledge and learning from the pilots and parallel developments in other parts of the country
- signpost relevant tools, research and evidence, eg, on customer insight, cost-benefit, and service design and innovation
- highlighting policy developments which are shaping the future terrain
Resources from this work are available for download:
- Customer insight and worklessness: recent contributions to knowledge, evidence and techniques relating to the needs and experiences of customers of worklessness services.
- Cost benefit and value for money resources: materials designed to assist partners in assessing financial costs and benefits in planning and commissioning, business case preparation, evaluation, and so on. It goes beyond ‘worklessness’ in including relevant content on children and young people, health and crime reduction which matter when looking at wider social returns and potential savings to the public purse.
- Evaluation checklist for worklessness co-design: a set of questions, developed for the pilots to help them build in evaluation from the outset (content linked to the appendix in DWP’s interim report which provides a ‘light touch’ cost-benefit framework
- Worklessness co-design pilots: what’s been tried elsewhere?: a briefing on local ‘pilots’ in other parts of the country that have used structured approaches to innovation. These include initiatives stemming from Total Place and programmes such as Family Intervention projects, Drug System Change and Child Poverty Pathfinders which explore similar themes and challenges.
- Tools for worklessness co-design: signposts to tools supporting collaborative planning and commissioning, customer insight and behaviour change, and service redesign and innovation.
The final DWP Co-design report
drew out achievements, lessons and next steps. It also included case studies on each of the pilots, a checklist for local authorities on working with JCP and Work Programme contractors, and an outline of what JCP bring to the partnership table.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.educe.co.uk/?p=272
Derrick Johnstone advised Doncaster Council and the Work and Skills Steering Group of Doncaster Together
on their Work and Skills Plan. This built on the Local Economic Assessment and set out to make the most of the added value of partnership working, in the context of far-reaching changes in funding and national policy. It provided the basis for discussions on the introduction locally of the DWP Work Programme, and prioritised action around employer engagement; labour market intelligence; information, advice and guidance; and targeted support for individuals and families. It has also informed the work of South Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership on skills.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.educe.co.uk/?p=278
Derrick Johnstone was commissioned as a Local Improvement Advisor (LIA) to help Communities and Local Government (CLG) gather a picture of the use and impact of the Working Neighbourhoods Fund (WNF) as of March 2010, updating the findings of the WNF Evaluation Scoping Report, which reviewed progress in implementing the programme a year earlier. Derrick advised on the approach to gathering the data and drew together a report based on information collected by a team of LIAs. The report, published by the Department of Communities and Local Government, WNF Project Study
, highlighted a range of good and innovative practices and available evidence of impact.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.educe.co.uk/?p=267
Educe facilitated a range of learning and networking activities on worklessness in the West Midlands, funded by DWP and CLG through Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands (IEWM). The programme ran between September 2009 and October 2010, and sought to:
- review learning and organisational development needs in tackling worklessness and impact
- assist partnerships and practitioners developing the Future Jobs Fund, Work and Skills Plans and City Region planning on employment and skills
- promote customer-focused innovation
- help strengthen evaluation evidence and the transfer of effective practice
- organising a regional conference, ‘Tackling Worklessness in an Age of Austerity’ (July 2010) to establish what ‘Total Place’ (TP) means in tackling worklessness, what can be learnt from the TP pilots and relevant experience in the region (featuring Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Worcestershire), and what actions are needed to drive greater impact and efficiency
- providing advisory support for the City Region MAA Employment and Skills Plan on the evidence base, data sharing, planning, commissioning, and engagement of ‘wraparound services’ (especially health and housing) alongside mainstream employment and skills delivery
- facilitating a regional Future Jobs Fund (FJF) network bringing together local authorities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises with contracts to deliver FJF in the region.
Derrick Johnstone also ran a series of four workshops to support the preparation of Local Economic Assessments in the region, on themes of Worklessness; Sustainable Economic Prosperity; and Forecasts and Scenarios. These were promoted by West Midlands Leaders Board, REDOG (the Regional Economic Development Officers Group) and IEWM.Other elements of the worklessness network programme included:
- Good Practice Review: pilot project being undertaken by RegenWM to work with practitioners to gather evidence of good practice in removing barriers to employment and increasing outcomes for particular groups, and how best to spread and embed ‘what works’.
- Cannock Chase ‘demonstration project’ which has brought local partners together to use customer insight techniques to improve multi-agency service delivery.
- evaluating-cost-effectiveness-of-worklessness-interventions: literature review and guidance prepared by West Midlands Regional Observatory
The programme was shaped by a regional steering group and linked in to the West Midlands Economic Inclusion Panel.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.educe.co.uk/?p=277
One of the themes we pursued in our work with Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands on tackling worklessness has been that of improving customer journeys. We produced two briefings, one an introduction to customer insight for local strategic partnerships
(pdf 162KB) and the other on customer journeys and worklessness
(pdf 381KB). These supported workshops and action learning run with practitioners in the West Midlands, helping to shape thinking and practice, eg, on the Connections to Opportunities programme in the region.In looking at the topic we have sought to draw out distinctions between ‘customer journeys’:
- as used in integrated service design (the planner’s eye view of how services should fit together and offer progression for jobseekers and employers)
- as experienced by service users
- where the focus is on mapping the background processes
In this, we followed guidance produced for the Cabinet Office – with participants typically finding the different – and complementary – approaches illuminating. Customer journey analysis featured in a range of subsequent activities. We produced a digest of research and resources on-line that relate to customer journeys and customer research relating to disadvantaged groups (Part 1 on customer needs and transitions
pdf 227KB; Part 2, covering references on health and worklessness
Permanent link to this article: https://www.educe.co.uk/?p=254