3 Evaluation and monitoring arrangements
Evaluation of the Future Jobs
31. The Department for Work and Pensions intends
to carry out an evaluation of the FJF but has yet to confirm the
full specification for its evaluation arrangements.
The Minister told us that the evaluation would take place
next year. DWP
also stated that it would be based on "qualitative research,
in-house data analysis and collation of lessons learnt from local
DWP has not, however, indicated the criteria that it will use
to measure the effectiveness of the programme. For example, effectiveness
might be measured by the number of FJF jobs created, the number
of FJF participants, the percentage of young people finding permanent
employment, young people's experiences of the programme, savings
in benefit payments, or the cost-effectiveness of the programme.
32. DWP has decided to evaluate the programme
in-house, rather than commission an independent evaluation. The
Minister explained that this was because: "There is a danger
in financially straitened times that we spend vast amounts of
money evaluating things that we are no longer going to do."
33. For a programme that has cost around £1
billion, we would usually expect the Department to include a measure
of independence and external assessment within the evaluation.
While we accept that this may not be a cost-effective option on
this occasion, especially given the fact that there will be no
national programme similar to the FJF in the foreseeable future,
we are concerned that the evaluation should be comprehensive and
available to all interested parties.
34. We believe that DWP should
conduct a robust and comprehensive evaluation of the FJF and publish
the findings. We recommend that the evaluation include an analysis
of the experiences of local implementation of the programme, an
assessment of the impact of the FJF on long-term employment and
benefit payments (as recorded in DWP databases) and a detailed
cost-benefit analysis. The evaluation method should also be published
to ensure the transparency and credibility of the process.
Tracking and monitoring within
35. Several witnesses suggested that the programme
might have been enhanced if there had been a national system for
tracking participants once they completed their FJF post. Groundwork
UK noted that there was no central monitoring of sustainable employment
outcomes for participants and no central system for tracking FJF
workers after they left the FJF job.
Tony Hawkhead from Groundwork UK made a comparison with the Community
Task Force which he believed offered excellent data because it
had a tracking record from the start.
36. The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities
noted that, while they were developing local tracking mechanisms,
they would have preferred a national system that could share data
and track people once they had left the FJF programme.
Evidence from the Birmingham and Black Country City Region suggested
that, while forms were available in that region to capture the
destination of FJF participants, these forms were completed immediately
after the young person finished their FJF job. They believed
that it would have been more useful to wait three months before
monitoring young people's progress.
This would take account of the normal delay many people experience
between finishing one job and starting another.
37. Although there appears to have been no national
system for tracking individuals once they left the FJF programme,
participants will appear in DWP administrative data if they re-enter
Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) or Jobseeker Regime and Flexible New
Deal (JRFND). DWP data are also linked to HM Revenue & Customs
data allowing employment outcomes to be observed. DWP's early
analysis makes use of the information held on FJF participants
and JSA claimants to provide data on the programme, although this
has arrived too late to help inform the national or local implementation
of the programme.
38. We believe that ongoing
assessment of the FJF programme at a local and national level
may have been more informative if effective systems had been available
to monitor participation and employment outcomes from the outset.
Incentives for employers and
39. DWP's guidance stated that each bid from
providers had to demonstrate that "there will be support
for employees to move into long-term, sustained employment".
However, the programme was relatively light touch in terms
of the monitoring and tracking requirements it placed on its providers.
Nor were they given clear direction by the Government on supporting
FJF participants to find permanent jobs.
40. The CBI suggested that the Future Jobs Fund
did not place sufficient focus on securing sustainable employment
opportunities for young people: "For the programme to be
a long-term success the jobs funded would have to create sustainable
pathways into employment, ensuring that the positions funded left
the young person more employable for the long-term as well as
providing a short period of employment."
Be Birmingham stated that there was a lack of incentives
for employers to progress FJF workers into permanent jobs. They
proposed the following incentives:
- a bonus paid to the provider
for every FJF employee who obtained permanent employment; or
- the residual amount of the £6,500 is paid
to the FJF provider for every worker who gained employment before
the end of their six months. 
41. Julia Sweeney, the DWP director involved
in establishing and developing the FJF, explained the reasons
why the Department chose a model without contractual incentives:
There was a balance to be struck between allowing
the space and capacity for innovation that we thought was very
important to harness partnership capability and to provide interesting
and dynamic experiences for young people, and using a financial
model that would drive outcomes. We settled on a grant mechanism
to deliver the former [....] One of the constraints of the grant
mechanism is that you cannot put contractual incentive mechanisms
into it. We did design a grant mechanism that had very dynamic
reporting, so we know each month what's happening with our delivery
42. The inclusion of incentives might have resulted
in increased costs for the programme and a lack of flexibility
for providers. However, it is worth noting that the Government's
proposals for the new Work Programme will include such incentives
and be based on "payment by results", with providers
being required to support individuals to complete up to two years
of paid work before they receive full payment from the Government.
31 Ev 51 Back
Q 105 Back
Ev 49 Back
Ev 51 Back
Ev 58 Back
Q 19 Back
Ev w219 Back
Ev w135 Back
Department for Work and Pensions, Early analysis of Future
Jobs Fund participant outcomes, November 2010 Back
Department for Work and Pensions, Guide to the Future Jobs
Fund, 2009, p 2 Back
Ev 46 Back
Ev 42 Back
Q 109 Back