The first report on the pilot ‘ONE’ service for new benefit claimantslaunched in 12 projects in1999 is inconclusive in assessing the success of the initiative.The aim of ONE is to bring together all services relating to claiming benefit and finding a job by joining up in one location staff from the Benefits Agency, the Employment Service and voluntary bodies such as the Citizens Advice Bureaux. A private sector company operated one of the pilots. ONE involves closer working across a range of welfare providers with the aim of delivering a personal and streamlined service to clients and helping them to consider the possibilities of work and training. The key feature of the pilot is the role of a personal adviser who deals exclusively with a client and particularly seeks to remove barriers to work.
The report reveals that most clients expressed positive views about the idea of integrated help with work and benefits and 74% of jobseekers agreed they had been treated as an individual.
ONE has changed many participants attitudes to work by providing a tailored service. For some this has been achieved by talking about work as a longer term goal and signposting options that could help them towards the labour market. Advice from personal advisers has improved clients’ self confidence in finding work and helped them to improve both the quantity and quality of jobsearch.
The report covers the period up to March 2000 and it asserts that it is too early to determine the effectiveness of ONE in moving people into work. It does however note that lone parents in the pilot areas were more likely to be in work 4-5 months after beginning their claim, which is an improvement on the control areas. There was no difference at this early stage for sick and disabled clients or jobseekers.