Select Committee on Education and Employment Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Further Memorandum from the Institute of Welfare

  I am writing on behalf of the Institute of Welfare to convey our contribution to the New Deal: An Evaluation Inquiry. Enclosed are the results of a survey conducted in Somerset and Bristol between 23 September 2000 and 16 October 2000 by this Professional Body in association with the Employment Service.

  The main finding of our research revealed the importance of New Deal placements attached to occupational welfare. Nearly 94 per cent of respondents considered that such provision would assist them in their work and serve as a natural extension to the support provided by Personal Advisers from the Employment Service. This view has been advocated by the Institute of Welfare in numerous official submissions since 1998.

  We have consistently highlighted the need for policy makers to consider the value of not only Welfare to Work but also Welfare at Work. Significantly, the Employment Policy Institute endorsed this consideration in relation to the "New Deal 50 Plus Programme". On 31 July 2000, they concluded, in a Report entitled "Boosting Employment for Older Workers", that more radical steps may be needed by employers, pension schemes and the Government in order to maintain the employment of older workers. A failure to fully concentrate on the varying individual needs of both young and older New Deal participants is a matter that needs to be addressed. In the absence of meaningful, sustained and credible support, such vulnerable people remain exposed to the danger of losing their hard won employment status and reverting back to the culture of state benefit dependency.

  On 28 April 2000, I wrote to the Chairman of your Committee in connection with the role and accreditation of Personal Advisers assigned to the New Deal. I have attached a copy for ease of reference. A number of the points advanced by the Institute of Welfare subsequently formed the basis of the key findings in a major survey by the Industrial Society. Their Policy Paper (A Good Deal Better: Reforming the New Deal), published in September 2000, highlighted the following three points which have been regularly raised by the Institute of Welfare since the inception of the New Deal:

    —  the undervaluing of the skills of Personal Advisers;

    —  long term unemployed people's lack of confidence can be marked and easily conceal their potential;

    —  a substantial minority of New Deal recruits have significant social and emotional problems.

  The Institute of Welfare agrees with the central recommendation of the Industrial Society's Report, namely that the role of Employment Service Personal Advisers should become a core Public Service profession. Higher calibre recruits can only be attracted by conferring higher professional status. This needs to be of an external (ie non Civil Service) nature with academic currency in order to have relevance and credibility for both Personal Advisers and public confidence. The Institute of Welfare is well placed to fulfil this role, as our Professional Accreditation programme is the only scheme currently available in the country to meet the Government's requirements for an accredited welfare work qualification in the care services. Moreover, the scheme's programme of professional study is officially recognised by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority at NVQ Levels 3 and 4.

  If the evaluation exercise of the New Deal results in the acceptance of professional status for Personal Advisers then the Institute of Welfare, which was founded as the Institute of Welfare Officers in 1945, offers itself as the most appropriate independent provider. The Employment Committee may also wish to discuss similar provision with your Social Security colleagues in respect of their Benefits Agency Personal Advisers. Such arrangements could prove to be an ideal and unifying precursor to the creation of the Working Age Agency in 2001.

Institute of Welfare

November 2000


  1.  How long have you been with your current employer? 16 weeks (average).

  2.  Is this your first placement through the New Deal? Yes (81.25 per cent)/No (18.75 per cent).

  3.  How many staff approximately does your employer have? (a) Under 50 (81.25 per cent); (b) 50-100 (6.25 per cent) or (c) Over 100 (12.5 per cent).

  4.  Does your employer have a Welfare Officer or someone who can provide you with any workplace support in relation to personal problems (ie debt, relationships, health, drink etc)? Yes (75 per cent) / No (18.75 per cent) / Do Not Know (6.25 per cent).

  5.  Do you think that workplace welfare (ie someone available to help you with job related and personal problems) would assist you in your work and serve as a natural extension to the support provided by Personal Advisers from the Employment Service? Yes (93.75 per cent) / No (6.25 per cent).


  Survey undertaken in Somerset and Bristol by the Institute of Welfare in association with the Employment Service. Fifty questionnaires were issued between 23 September 2000 and 16 October 2000. Sixteen were returned fully completed, representing a response rate of 32 per cent.


  Nearly 94 per cent of respondents welcome the provision of workplace welfare.


  The Institute of Welfare would like to thank all New Deal placements for their participation with this survey. In addition, the approval and co-operation of the Somerset Employment Service is appreciated.

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