Headlines: February 23rd, 1999

The Employment Service has changed its culture for the better over the last 18 months said employment Minister David Blunkett. He was launching The Way Ahead a vision for the long term direction for the 1000 job centres and 35,000 staff.

The first Way Ahead published last year set out a values framework to progress cultural change. It included: achievement, service, partnership, people and quality. An independent report by the Institute of Employment studies shows that the new framework of values is starting to have an effect. The report said: “Early indications of the effect of the New Deal on individual and employer participants are generally positive”.

More than 57,800 young unemployed people aged 18-24 were helped to find work under the New Deal, part of the Welfare to Work agenda, from April 1998 to November. Working in partnership with other local service providers such as voluntary groups and the private sector, new ways were developed to help young people into work.

A number of other studies and evaluation reports on the New Deal are due to be published. It will be interesting to see how they show the impact of the environment of a steadily declining level of unemployment on the results achieved.