Select Committee on Work and Pensions Third Report


VIII. Improving Delivery

120. Another area into which the Committee inquired was how to maintain the integrity of national design frameworks whilst extending the scope for local discretion in its delivery form - and to ensure integration with other initiatives that stimulate demand from business or reduce barriers to work at the neighbourhood level.

Delivery through partnerships

121. Many witnesses argued that welfare to work initiatives do not function effectively if delivered to a "one size fits all" design. Ms Bridget Rosewell described this approach as "delivering to people rather than for people".[123] Working Links in its submission stressed that its model involved "a true partnership approach within the communities where we operate instead of a loose cooperation guided by self interest."[124] This sentiment was echoed by Mr Leigh Lewis who told the Committee that Jobcentre Plus is "trying to be more and more in the business of devising and helping to play our part in local solutions to local problems because a one-size-fits-all approach clearly does not work with a myriad set of labour markets and local circumstances."[125]

122. Many witnesses identified Local Strategic Partnerships as an obvious vehicle to bring coherence to the many programmes and strands of government activity. Witnesses agreed that providers often create complicated "funding cocktails" between different Government policies - particularly where training funds, employability programmes and area-based initiatives coincide.

123. Mr Peter Lauener, of the DfES, pointed to the model of "co-financing" that has been introduced to reform the use of European Social Fund (ESF) Objective 3 money within England.[126] Eligible service providers no longer have to find match-funding that is typically worth 55% of a project before applying for ESF from a regional Government Office. Instead, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), Jobcentre Plus or other co-financing organisations bring together both the ESF contribution and the match-funding to provide 100% of a project is costs to the provider. Much of the auditing and management information requirements attached to European Funding become the responsibility of the co-financing organisation thus relieving the service provider from the substantial burdens of compliance.

124. We believe that co-financing is a useful model and recommend that Jobcentre Plus programme funds could be placed with LSPs to be match-funded with other resources from local and central government. This would create real strategic partnerships equipped with a wide range of programme funds and would enable local decision takers to reduce duplication, fill gaps and achieve "double benefits" to both individuals and communities. We recommend that a pilot area be identified to test and evaluate this approach.

123   Q. 21. Back

124   Ev 43, para 10. Back

125   Q. 317. Back

126   QQ. 297 and 298. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 31 July 2002