UK - New Deal 50 plus (ND50+)
Individual support including advice, work placement, skills and financial support
Who did it?
The scheme, implemented by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and delivered by Jobcentre Plus, aimed to take a more decentralised approach to the delivery of interventions for jobseekers. DWP wanted to devolve greater power to Jobcentre Plus managers in order to deliver provision which was relevant to people in a specific local community.
Where are we drawing the evidence from?
Information sourced from the report What works for whom? A review of evidence and meta-analysis for the Department for Work and Pensions (2007), carried out by Chris Hasluck and Anne E. Green of the Warwick Institute for Employment Research.
What kind of support was it?
Back-to-work support for individuals which included a combination of advice/support, work placements, acquisition of skills, self-employment support, in-work support and financial support.
Where did it run?
The project ran throughout the UK.
When did it run?
2000-2009 (50+ were integrated into a mainstream offer)
Who did it serve?
Individuals aged 50 or over and who had claimed Income Support (IS), Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Incapacity Benefit (IB), Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA) or State Pension Credit for at least six months. The focus was on the economically active.
What were its key features?
- The decentralisation of service meant that Jobcentre Managers were able to select from a ‘menu of provision’ (e.g., in-work support, specialist help for people with disabilities or the most disadvantaged customers, wage subsidies and employability skills). Personal Advisors could therefore tailor interventions to reflect individual need
- The scheme removed the dependence between appropriate intervention and benefits claimed and had greater flexibility designed to cater for individual needs
- There were fewer rules on eligibility, programme mix and length, with more flexibility, variation and local innovation
- Participation was voluntary and participants did not incur any loss of benefit:
- Access to a ‘personal advisor’ to provide advice and guidance, action-planning, help with job-searching and application, signposting to training and ‘support and reassurance’
- Access to working tax credit
- A training grant – for job-related training after the participant secured work
What were its outcomes?
There was limited performance data collected for ND 50+ (compared to other programmes), and no economic evaluation.
- An estimated 150,000 individuals were supported to return to work between the ND50+ start (April 2000) and December 2004
- Job outcomes from the ND50+ programme tended to be sustained, with around three-quarters of those entering full-time work continuing to be in full-time work after six months. This was not reflected in those entering part-time jobs
- Qualitative evaluation showed that older workers appreciated the personal advisor support
- The training grant for ‘employed’ workers had low take-up. In general, older workers preferred training prior to starting a new job, rather than when in employment. The low take-up could be attributed to several reasons:
- Some participants felt they were too old to train, they were too old to see much return on training or they had the necessary skills for the job (a factor reflecting the relatively low level of employment taken by the majority of ND50+ customers)
- Customers had no experience of buying training for themselves and didn't really understand what training they needed, what the cost would be and how to access appropriate training. This expectation for a proactive approach was not successful as people were more concerned about finding suitable employment
- Some participants cited that the separation of the Training Grant from employer centred training was not appealing
- However, the Training Grant was of value to the self-employed. They found it relevant and accessed local courses
- The Training Grant was valuable for some small companies, where it had been possible to integrate it with employer spend on training
- In terms of in-work support, anecdotal evidence suggested that the shift from Employment Credit (EC) to Working Tax Credit (WTC) had a negative effect on participation in the programme. It was suggested that the complexity of managing the WTC process through the employer and its dependence on household rather than individual income could have been a factor. It was further inferred that there might have been a reluctance by participants to claim benefits to which they are entitled if it compromises personal privacy
- Evidence showed that the attitude of participants (i.e., their commitment to work and dislike of being on benefits, was important. The voluntary nature of the programme was also important
- The quality of employment was important to this age group but, the jobs available were of poor quality
- Evidence showed that Work Trials were important for older customers particularly if they had been out of work for some time or if moving into new areas of work. Short trials of 3-5 days were preferred
- Training was most valuable when targeted at individual and employer needs. Some training was too basic for people with considerable experience; some older people were reluctant to engage with ‘basic skills’ feeling they were too old to engage with learning