Memorandum from Tomorrow's People
1.1 Tomorrow's People, a national charitable
trust, was established in 1984 to help unemployed people to work.
Since then, we have helped over 324,000 job seekers to find employment.
We do this by providing access to skills that enable the unemployed
to enter and compete successfully in the labour market.
1.2 Tomorrow's People has a well established
network of links and partnerships with employers (including Unipart,
Zeneca, Littlewoods and Burger King), as well as the Employment
Service, Training and Enterprise Councils, and education.
1.3 Since its launch in 1997, Tomorrow's
People has been active in delivering all aspects of New Deal for
Young People. During this time 164 young people have started on
New Deal through Tomorrow's People and we have delivered 1,560
Gateway modules. We are therefore pleased to be able to contribute
our views to this inquiry.
1.4 Tomorrow's People has had a long history
of delivering support to unemployed people through a range of
government programmes and initiatives. We therefore welcomed the
development of New Deal as an opportunity to move unemployed people
from welfare into work.
1.5 Tomorrow's People also lays great emphasis
on the development of links with employers. Indeed, Tomorrow's
People is increasingly playing the role of intermediary between
employers and unemployed people. This is perhaps best reflected
in our Corporate Workroute initiative. Through this and other
initiatives, Tomorrow's People has sought to directly engage employers,
many of which are household names, in providing opportunities
for the unemployed.
1.6 Through this work we have also developed
a clear understanding of the requirements of employers and the
problems that they face in supporting initiatives such as New
Deal. We strongly believe that active support and engagement of
employers is crucial to the success of New Deal and have therefore
reflected some of the issues raised by those employers with which
2. SUCCESS OF
2.1 It is our experience that the success
of New Deal has been variable. This very much accords with performance
information published by the Employment Service which shows variable
success rates across the country. We are aware that job entry
rates into sustainable jobs for young people on New Deal is around
33 per cent nationally. This accords with our experience, although
we are able to point to a number of examples where the job entry
rates exceed this figure. For example, the following New Deal
projects involving major employers have yielded the following
success rates: Unipart, 70 per cent; Burger King, 56 per cent;
Liverpool SMEs, 86 per cent. Set out below are some issues which
we believe have impacted on performance.
2.2 Poor levels of referral
Many of our operations report that the numbers
of New Deal clients referred to them by the Employment Service
have been lower than expected. This makes it difficult to secure
the range and choice of provision to meet the needs of young people.
A further impact is also that many employers, who were initially
enthusiastic about New Deal, were then disappointed when they
were unable to recruit New Dealers. We have some evidence that
employers walked away from New Deal as a result of these early
disappointments. We believe that the numbers anticipated were
not realistic and so levels of expectation were raised, both with
providers and employers. With providers who established levels
of overhead to cope with anticipated volume, this will have lead
to financial difficulties. This "risk" element was all
in the lap of providers. We believe that risk should be shared.
2.3 Retention problems on Gateway and Options
In some areas we have had reports of problems
of retention rates both in the Gateway and on New Deal Options.
In one area retention on Gateway modules was only 60 per cent
and on one FTET programme none of the clients completed the programme.
This is the case even for mandatory programmes and concern has
been expressed that the Employment Service has been reluctant
to impose sanctions even for those on mandatory programmes. This
then sends a signal to others that they can ignore provision.
There also appears to be little follow up from advisers once clients
have been referred and the system generally then appears to be
2.4 Retention Rates in Employment
It is difficult to comment on this aspect of
performance given that there is little follow through once the
client is in employment. However, anecdotal evidence from operations
managers across the country suggests that clients are often referred
back to provision having dropped out of employment. This can often
be explained by problems with job quality or by inappropriate
referrals by Employment Service. There is also some indication
that clients have not been sufficiently prepared for the world
of work through the Gateway period.
2.5 Measures of success
Whilst it is right that the ultimate aim of
New Deal must be to gain employment, many of the Tomorrow's People's
clients, particularly in areas where there are tight labour markets,
are inevitably those with greatest difficulties. The principal
success indicator for New Deal has concentrated on crude job entryother
wise known as the "Core Performance Measure A".
2.6 But for those clients who are a long
way from being job-ready, better measures of achievement are needed.
For these clients, many of whom will require significant help
if they are to gain employment, it is essential that steps are
taken to improve employability. This can be both costly and time
consuming, yet there is insufficient recognition of the often
significant progress that many can achieve, despite that fact
that they are not able to gain employment in the first instance.
More recognition needs to be given the establishing effective
measures of added value, where significant improvements in employability
have been achieved.
2.7 We have learned the lesson well, that
it is better to do a good job with 50 than a poor job with 100.
New Deal has, of political necessity, been numbers driven. The
result being that the Jobcentres have insufficient time to devote
2.8 For those can enter work quite quickly,
job retention and advancement are more important indicators of
success than simple job entryafter all some 42 per cent
of all job starts do not last more than 13 weeks.
2.9 Despite these problems and failures
we continue to believe that New Deal offers an excellent opportunity
for young people. There are clearly areas where improvements are
needed if New deal is to realise its potential. These are highlighted
3. KEY FACTORS
3.1 There are a number of factors which
have influenced the successes and failures of New Deal.
3.2 Key Success Factors
Overwhelmingly, Tomorrow's People believe that
one of the factors critical to the success of New Deal has been
the existence of the Gateway. Whilst it is not without its difficulties,
the Gateway period and provision provide an opportunity to deal
with many of the problems which clients face and which place barriers
to their ability to gain employment. The existence of the Gateway
is certainly an improvement on many past government initiatives
and one which should be built on and improved (see below).
The provision of training is also an advantage,
particularly for those on the voluntary sector and environmental
task force options. Similar programmes, such as Community Action,
could have benefited from training and could have been further
enhanced by adding an intensive gateway element at the front end
of phase two. Nevertheless, the length of the options is often
such that there is insufficient time to complete the relevant
Strong partnerships with the Employment Service
and employers are an important ingredient in the success of New
Deal. Whilst the strength of the partnership arrangements with
Employment Service vary considerably, it is our experience that
where there are good relationships there is greater scope for
experimentation and flexibility of response to local needs. This
in turn leads to improved performance. Partnerships with employers
also take time and effort to develop. New Deal has certainly encouraged
a greater range of employers to get involved in recruiting the
unemployed. However, we have sometimes been disappointed that
the Employment Service has been reluctant to encourage employers
to use our services as an intermediary, promising that they could
deliver just as well, and then did not. In one case, this actually
damaged our relationship with an existing customer of Tomorrow's
People. However, some Employment Service Districts are very supportive
and will do all in their power to help. Others still seem to view
us as a competitor and therefore a threat.
3.6 Personal Advice
The principle of Personal Advisers, who can
give personal support to clients, is a further positive aspect
of the New Deal. Where they work well, the presence of Personal
Advisers, clearly enhances the experience of the New Deal clients,
ensuring that the barriers which impede their employability are
tackled and that they make the most effective choices. However,
we do have a number of concerns about the variable quality of
Personal Advisers and the "independence" of the advice
that they are able to provide (see below).
3.7 Holistic approach to advice
Tomorrow's People has had added debt management
to many of its projects as we have found that dealing with the
"whole" problem of debt and unemployment is more effective
than concentrating on one problem and hoping the other might be
solved in the process. A linked attack on the debt and job hunting,
shows the individual that work and finances are inextricably linked.
Personal budgeting is another aspect of this work and ensures
that, once in work, the clients are able to manage their resources
effectively, improving the chances of retention.
3.8 In work mentoring.
Getting a person to the point of starting work
is one thing. Getting them to stay is another. Providing effective
in work mentoring support to the client and acting as mediator
between employer and employee when necessary is a powerful key
to success. Here the independence of the adviser in this is vital.
Any suggestion that there may be a report back to those who control
the benefits damages the honesty of the relationship, and therefore
the ability to get a good result.
3.9 Key Problems
Whilst we believe that the existence of the
Gateway is a positive feature of New Deal, we also believe that
in a number of areas it has not been effectively utilised. More
opportunities could be made available to clients during the Gateway
period to improve employability, confidence and motivation. We
have been particularly pleased by the successes of mentoring initiatives
in improving confidence and motivation of clients.
3.11 Length of Options
For some clients who face greatest difficulties,
a longer period on the options would be helpful, particularly
where it is necessary in order to complete qualifications, which
may enhance their longer term employability.
New Deal is too bureaucratic. This causes problems
both for New Deal contractors and for employers. In addition to
the excessive form filling, which is resource intensive, many
employers are unused to dealing with large bureaucracies such
as the Employment Service and can become frustrated by lack of
progress and perceived inflexibility. Many employers have welcomed
the role of Tomorrow's People, acting as an intermediary between
the employer and the Employment Service, dealing with administrative
issues on their behalf.
3.13 Variable Quality of Personal Advisers
Whilst there are undoubtedly many good quality
and committed New Deal Personal Advisers, we are also aware that
too many Personal Advisers lack the skills and commitment required
to work with unemployed people. Problems include, insufficient
contact with clients, with some clients having virtually no contact
with their Personal Advisers. This in turn has lead to poor referrals,
with candidates being inappropriately referred to options or jobs.
We believe that the issues extend beyond training and in some
cases is a result of the cultural issues which exist within some
Employment Service districts.
3.12 Lack of Independence of Personal Advice
Tomorrow's People have found that better results
are achieved by using an independent adviser who has no power
over an individual's benefits. A greater level of honesty is achieved,
resulting in a better match to vacancies and ultimately to retention
3.14 Lack of Flexibility
Certainly, in the early days, Tomorrow's People
was often frustrated by the rules. If we came across a client
who had not completed their gateway period, we were being blocked
from moving them into subsidised employment. Whilst it is clearly
necessary to have rules which determine eligibility etc, greater
thought needs to be given to how those rules are written to allow
a flexible approach. Unemployed people have a variety of needs
and face a variety of different and often difficult circumstances.
Flexibility needs to be applied if these range of individual needs
are to be met. Many Employment Service districts are loathed to
apply flexibilities which are available in other areas.
4.1 Our experience of working with Employers
indicates that they often need support if they are going to engage
effectively with New Deal. Yet their support is essential if New
Deal is to be effective. Tomorrow's People has had a great deal
of success in working with employers through our Corporate Workroute
initiative. Through this initiative we are able to provide support
to employers and help them to engage with initiative such as New
Deal. It is our experience that even the largest and most committed
employers need support in engaging with New Deal clients and dealing
with the bureaucracy that is associated with New Deal.
4.2 Set out below are some issues which
have been raised by employers and which impact on the effectiveness
of New Deal.
4.3 Educating employers
Tomorrow's People have examples of employers
where costly resources were thrown at the job without forethought
and planning. Staff within the employer often failed to understand
the client group, did not know how to present opportunities to
the client group in a way that would encourage applications and
were unclear on the issues facing the organisation in terms of
retention. On the other hand, other employers have taken the time
to research the client group and have changed their recruitment
practices to allow groups of New Deal clients to start together,
thus building peer group support.
4.4 Unipart, AstraZeneca and Burger King
used Tomorrow's People as an intermediary to handle New Deal in
partnership with them, thus buying in the expertise rather than
trying to develop their own. This approach reduced the risk of
moving into unknown territory and improved the chances of success.
4.5 Relationships between Employment Service
It is clear from our experience that the Employment
Service needs to consider how they build relationships with employers.
One significant London based employer had developed an excellent
relationship with their local Jobcentre. A single identified individual
at the Jobcentre was responsible for managing the employer liaison.
She spent a great deal of time with the employer and helped them
through any difficult patches.
4.6 Other employers have had less supportive
Jobcentres. Sadly, many employers complained that after the original
high profile contact from their Jobcentre to "sign them up",
they never heard from their Jobcentre again. This relationship
was never rebuilt in the majority of cases, resulting in a very
disenchanted customer base.
4.7 Knowledge of employers
Spending time to learn about an employer, rather
than simply taking their vacancy over the telephone, allows the
advisers to represent vacancies more realistically. Again, this
leads to a better fit in submissions to vacancies.
5. HOW EFFECTIVE
EVALUATING ND BEEN?
Tomorrow's People is aware that the Employment
Service has a programme of evaluation. Much of this evaluation
is quantitative and we believe that more information is needed
on some of the more qualitative issues which impact on the performance
of New Deal. The New Deal Task Force has undertaken a number of
projects which have looked at some of these more qualitative aspects.
Indeed Tomorrow's People have featured in some of these studies.
We believe that a number of lessons have been learned through
the operation of New Deal and some improvements have been made
as a result. There is still further scope to learn from and extend
good practice where it exists. Contractors such as Tomorrow's
People have much experience to lend to such reviews and we believe
that contractors need to be more fully engaged in such reviews.
Tomorrow's People believes that there are many
positive features of New Deal for Young People and is fully committed
to its supporting its continued success. In this evidence we have
tried to highlight those areas where we believe there continues
to be scope for improvement. As an intermediary organisation we
are convinced that strategies for engaging employers need to be
further encouraged whilst at the same time supporting the most
vulnerable client group. This will be key to the success of New
Deal. Ways need to be found to engage Employment Service in supporting
organisations such as Tomorrow's People to develop and deliver
22 Unemployment Unit, Working Brief Commentary 114,
May 2000 Back