This paper has been developed following consultation with ERSA’s membership and focuses on those areas of the Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into Jobcentre Plus that are of most relevance to the welfare to work industry.
The key points in ERSA’s response are as follows:
- ERSA believes the effectiveness of Jobcentre Plus (JCP) should be measured by sustained job outcomes rather than off-benefit flows.
- ERSA would support Jobcentre Plus adopting a more sophisticated assessment tool to identify more accurately the level and type of barriers to employment experienced by jobseekers.
- ERSA recommends that DWP should provide greater clarity for JCP advisers as to when a jobseeker should be referred to the Work Programme vis-à-vis Work Choice.
- ERSA supports the fast-tracking of those who are at risk of becoming long term unemployed to intensive provision rather than waiting for referral to be triggered after a specified length of time.
- ERSA believes more needs to be done to improve the amount and quality of information about participants and their needs at referrals.
- ERSA recommends DWP should conduct a review of sanctioning activity with a view to ensuring that the processes are clearly understood by participants and consistently and swiftly applied.