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Provider-led Pathways

Experiences and views of implementation in phase 2 districts

Market seller
Published: January 2010

Aim

We explored the views and experiences of provider-led Pathways to Work customers and staff at Jobcentre Plus and provider organisations. Pathways to Work was an initiative aimed at improving opportunities for people on incapacity benefits.

The purpose of the study was to explore:

  • Customers' experiences of the initial Work Focused Interview with the Jobcentre Plus advisor, referral to the provider and support received from provider-led Pathways services.
  • Provider staff experiences and views on contractual arrangements, working with Jobcentre Plus, and delivering provider-led Pathways services.
  • Jobcentre Plus staff experiences of working with providers and customers.

This study builds upon evidence collected from an early implementation study conducted in phase 1 provider-led Pathways districts in 2008.

Findings

Staff and customer views could be touched on seven key themes:

  • The division of roles and responsibilities between Job Centre Plus (JCP) and providers
  • The exchange of information and administrative processes between JCP and providers
  • Provision of Customer Choice
  • Dealing with Failures to Attend (FTA) and sanctions
  • Provider staff knowledge and skills dealing with this group of customers
  • Meeting customers’ needs for support
  • Tension between job outcomes and providing appropriate support

The findings indicate that although some of the issues raised at phase 1 of the implementation had been addressed, there were other issues that still persisted into phase 2 (e.g. the provision of detailed information about provider organisations by JCP) and some that were likely to persist. Phase 2 also led to new ‘teething problems’ around ensuring Customer Choice was informed and fully realised.

Accordingly, the report made suggestions to improve the on-going delivery of the programme, including:

  • Ensuring early communication with customers who are participating in the programme;
  • Reflecting on the kind of customer choice facilitated by the current model;
  • Facilitating better sharing of expertise between Jobcentre Plus advisers and providers.

Methodology

The study comprised: in-depth interviews and group discussions with 30 staff from Jobcentre Plus; in-depth interviews and group discussions with 50 staff from provider organisations, and in-depth interviews with 36 customers participating in the programme across six phase 2 provider-led Pathways districts.

Read the report