Abstracts: January 28th, 2009

Tackling worklessness has been a key feature of the New Deal for Communities and this paper from Communities and Local Government draws out the lessons learned.

The New Deal areas faced a number of challenges, including the loss of traditional jobs, eg in manufacturing, low paid jobs did not meet expectations and small firms found it hard to invest time in recruiting and developing those who had been out of work for a long time.

Worklessness issues were addressed with locally tailored solutions, developed in consultation with local residents, providers and employers. Support included welfare and financial advice, employment brokerage, subsidised training and help to purchase equipment and materials and community transport to major employment locations.

Partnership working was an essential element of success, but at different times and in different places some partners were not able to engage with neighbourhood level interventions to tackle worklessness. New initiatives, backed by resources and the power to commission activity can cause resentment among established providers as they feel threatened by the changes and failure to respond to local needs was a contributing factor to the area’s problems.

For some projects it is important that they are picked up by mainstream providers once the NDC programme ends. Working closely with local authorities was found to be the best approach to achieve this outcome.

Tackling Worklessnes is available from DCLG. http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/communities/pdf/1086559.pdf