Headlines: May 8th, 2003

The plea for policy initiatives to be based on hard evidence and concrete research has produced a new policy development model from the Cabinet Office. One of the aims of the model is to encourage excellence in policy, research, and evaluation design. The demonstration project will test a new strategy for improving job retention and advancement for low-wage workers. It represents a potentially important step in strengthening the evolving welfare-to-work and anti-poverty policies.The project differs from the traditional approach because there are no plans at the outset to roll out the policy on a national scale before results of the evaluation are known. Also the effectiveness of the intervention will be tested as a large-scale, multi-site, random assignment social experiment. This will test whether the cutting-edge, but unproven policy innovation, can make a useful contribution to devising effective social policy.

The Employment Retention and Advancement Demonstration Project will focus on individuals in different low-income groups known to have difficulty retaining jobs or advancing to better positions. It will include those eligible for New Deal 25 plus, people volunteering for New Deal for Lone Parents and Lone Parents on Working Tax Credit.

The Cabinet Office led design team has worked in close collaboration with officials in stakeholder departments – Department for Work and Pensions, Inland Revenue, Department for Education and Skills, and HM Treasury. The DWP will lead the operational phase of the project through Jobcentre Plus and oversee its evaluation.