Memorandum submitted by Seetec
1. Seetec is a provider of Welfare to Work
programmes for Jobcentre Plus. Over the years we have gained considerable
experience of working with Incapacity Benefit claimants coming
through our centres on mainstream programmes (New Deal, Work Based
Learning for Adults and Private Sector Lead), New Deal for Disabled
People (NDDP), European Social Fund and more recently Pathways
to Work (The IB Reform Pilots). As a consequence we feel that
our knowledge and experience may be of interest to the Select
2. Seetec is an Essex based provider operating
in more than 10 Jobcentre Plus districts around the country. We
have been delivering NDDP since 2001 and in that time have registered
over 2,000 claimants, finding almost 40% jobs with 60% keeping
their jobs for over 13 weeks. I am delighted to report that all
these figures are targeted to increase and by 2006-07 we would
hope to see over 50% of registered claimants in jobs with 70%
3. Being based in Essex we have also been
working closely with the NHS and Jobcentre Plus on delivering
introductory modules for the Condition Management Programme, part
of Pathways to Work. As a consequence of this development we have
gained an insight into the interactions and impacts of health
management in the context of back to work programmes.
4. "No Shows" are people who have
been referred/self-referred to a programme, booked an appointment
and then do not make an appearance. The reasons for this are many:
lack of confidence, forgetfulness, hospital appointments, do not
wish to attend, etc. From our experience in Essex, the problem
is particularly acute on the Condition Management Programme (CMP)
when compared to NDDP. From August 2004 to February 2005 73 individuals
were booked on an introductory CMP course with Seetec. Only 58%
turned up for the first day of the two-day course while 81% of
those who registered on day one returned for day two. This compares
to 85% who book an initial assessment with Seetec on NDDP and
subsequently turn up for their appointment.
5. The Introductory course is the gateway
to the rest of the CMP. In conversation with specialist providers
of the health modules that follow, "No shows" continue
to build. Thus, even though the numbers attending mandatory Work
Focused Interviews (WFI) may be high the actual number making
it through to the end of the CMP is likely to be very low, making
the unit cost of CMP very high.
6. We believe that the differences between
CMP and NDDP "No Shows" may be partly due to the fact
that at the point of contact the NDDP client has decided that
they want to return to work. In addition they receive very thorough
information, advice and guidance over the phone so that they can
make an appropriate decision, the provision is "joined up"
and the gap between making the booking and having the appointment
is short (less than five days).
7. Our recommendations to address the "No
Shows" issue are:
Add a piece of legislative process
to Pathways to Work to ensure that people pass through the entire
system and not just part of it.
For those responsible for Pathways
to Work to track and assess people throughout the entire Pathways
to Work process rather than just parts of it. (As far as we are
aware neither of these are in place at the moment, leaving effectiveness
wide open to debate).
Add more pace and purpose to
8. As indicated above, since 2001 we have
registered over 2,000 claimants onto NDDP, finding 40% jobs with
60% keeping those jobs for over 13 weeks. These figures are increasing
and by 2006-07 we expect to see over 50% of registered claimants
in jobs with 70% sustaining them (this is evidence that people
with disabilities are loyal workers in the labour market). We
have found that when Pathways to Work is introduced to a district
the numbers of people with disabilities going onto mainstream
programmes increases significantly, eg, in Derbyshire the number
of people with disabilities on our programmes has grown from about
3% to 17%. Therefore, there needs to be adequate mainstream funding
to support the increase.
9. We have found that our greatest challenge
is to engage clients in the first place. When we first started
to deliver NDDP, mass media advertising readily attracted claimants.
However, as time went by the effectiveness of this approach decreased.
We are finding that clients are increasingly less confident about
coming forward or afraid of involuntarily losing their benefits.
To combat this we use field based staff to engage clients in places
where they congregate, eg, community centres, hospitals, clubs,
etc, to explain how we can help and thereby address confidence
issues. More recently we have introduced a "bring a friend"
scheme, which seems to be catching on.
10. The current split of our clients' disabilities
is: 45% physical, 31% mental, 24% other. However, we find that
the mental health category and harder to help clients grow significantly
faster when Pathways to Work is introduced to a district. Clearly
this phenomena needs to be built into any future planning. We
have found that the gender split is fairly constant at 62% male
and 38% female.
11. The majority of people who register
on our NDDP programme are IB claimants. We have a number of inquiries
from those on Income Support (IS) but these rarely register due
to the benefits' trap.
12. The 52-week linking rule, which is designed
to protect claimants in the event that they need to return to
benefits from a period of work, is generally viewed as being too
complex to be successfully administered. As a consequence, many
claimants do not view the rule as a safety net at all.
13. Our recommendations to address the "Claimants"
Review the interpretation that
agencies such as Jobcentre Plus place upon the Data Protection
Act so that direct marketing of government programmes can take
Ensure that there are support
services in place for clients who are deemed to be "fit for
work" and who, in reality, are not.
Review whether there is an in-balance
of men to women with disabilities wanting to return to work
Address the benefits' trap.
Simplify the administration
of the 52-week linking rule.