Abstracts: November 14th, 2011

Job Centre Plus Advisers were successfully integrated into the children’s centres and the pilots achieved their main objective.

The flexibility of the Adviser’s role has been key to its success with customers and pilot staff alike. Some advisers did, however, find it difficult to manage the tension of balancing work-focused activities with less structured, ad-hoc engagement and outreach activities.

All pilot sites have delivered the five core elements of pilot provision and demand for the pilot has been high. The pilot has made significant progress in preparing parents for work, in getting parents to think about work and in linking them into wider support and provision which they might need in the interim period.

Outreach has been one of the most successful elements of the pilot. Through a variety of outreach methods the pilot has successfully engaged a mix of traditional and non-traditional Jobcentre Plus customers.

More joined up services meant that parents had better access to services on one site, and this meant that they were often dealt with more quickly. Referrals between Jobcentre Plus and children’s centres services also meant that parents’ issues were not addressed in isolation from each other, but were tackled more holistically.

Partnership working has been strong, and has grown over time, between Jobcentre Plus and children’s centres. Partnership working with other local providers tended to be more limited in some areas.

A major factor in determining pilot success is also whether children’s centre managers understand the role that employment can play in providing a route out of poverty, and their role in helping to address it.