Evaluation of Private Sector Led Pathways to Work Incapacity Benefit Reform

Funded by: Department for Work and Pensions

Duration:

April 2008 to March 2011

PSI researchers:


Genevieve Knight

Sergio Salis

Francesca Francavilla

Background, summary and aims

Provider Led Pathways to Work (PL Pathways) was introduced in two phases: the first phase rolled out from Dec 2007 in 15 Jobcentre Plus districts; the second phase will rolled out in April 2008 in a further 16 districts. It continued the Jobcentre Plus Pathways to Work Pilots: Incapacity Benefits Reforms, which were previously evaluated (see, for example, Incapacity Benefit (IB) evaluation and Provider-Led Pathways early feedback, phase two evaluation and an evaluation of the effect of outcome-based contracting).

Building on the success of the Jobcentre Plus Pathways to Work pilots which have been running since October 2003, the Green Paper - A new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work, published in January 2006 - set out the Government’s aspiration to provide a national Pathways service by 2008, to underpin the implementation of the new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The aim was to extend Pathways provision, through delivery by the private and voluntary sector, to 60 per cent of the country.

Within Provider-led Pathways districts, attendance and participation in Work Focused Interviews (WFI) is a mandatory condition of continuing entitlement to the full amount of benefit payable for all new and repeat customers claiming IB on or after 3 December 2007 for phase one districts (this date is 28 April 2008 for phase two) unless in certain prescribed circumstances when a WFI can be waived as is the case in the current Pathways regime. The most severely ill and disabled are exempt from attending the five further WFIs and customers expected to return to work with little or no support will be also be screened out (although the screening tool was dropped post ESA). Both groups must attend WFIs triggered by prescribed life events and three-yearly review WFIs. All new customers who are waived or exempt or not part of the mandatory WFI process and existing IB customers may participate voluntarily.

In summary, Pathways to Work Providers are contracted to deliver:

  • five, monthly mandatory WFIs from the third to the eighth month of the IB claim unless:
    • the customer has been screened out or is exempt from these WFIs (because they are exempt from the personal capability assessment (PCA) for IB), or
    • a WFI has been waived. (Jobcentre Plus will advise if a waiver has been applied or the customer is screened out or exempt);
  • less frequent mandatory WFIs triggered by certain ‘life events’ (specified in regulations) for all customers;
  • three-yearly mandatory WFIs if they have not had a WFI in three years;
  • review and updating of the customer’s personalised work-focused Action Plan as part of the WFI;
  • tailored, work-focused support (including better-off calculations and promotion of in-work benefits such as Return to Work Credit (RTWC) and tax credits, and other work focused support under the banner of New Deal for Disabled People (NDDP);
  • Referrals to DEA specialist provision as appropriate;
  • a Condition Management Programme (CMP) that focuses on at least the three main types of condition that give rise to the majority of IB claims ie, muscular-skeletal, cardiovascular, and mild to moderate mental health problems. The programme must conform to Department of Health Clinical Governance standards and data protection requirements and similar standards within Scotland and Wales;
  • Prompt referral of the case to Jobcentre Plus for consideration of a benefit sanction where the customer has failed to attend or to participate. JCP will then establish if the customer has ‘good cause’ for non-participation and, if not, impose a sanction;
  • Safeguards to ensure Ministerial commitment that people with mental health problems or a learning disability will not be sanctioned inappropriately.

Background to the Evaluation

This evaluation research of the Provider Led Pathways represents the final stage of evaluation for Pathways to Work. Since the Jobcentre Plus-led Pathways pilots started in 2003, DWP has been conducting a comprehensive evaluation, carried out by a consortium of independent, external research organisations. The evaluation includes research with IB customers, staff and providers; qualitative and quantitative evaluations of process and outcomes, a net impact analysis and cost-benefit analyses. The key objective of the evaluation has been to establish whether (and by how much) the pilot helps IB customers move towards the labour market and into work.

The Jobcentre Plus-led Pathways evaluation was undertaken in the original seven pilot districts, where it was extended to include research with existing as well as new customers. Evaluation was also carried out in the Jobcentre Plus ‘expansion’ districts (an additional 14 districts, bringing the total, once boundary changes are taken into account of, to 19 ). A number of evaluation reports have been published, in particular those relating to qualitative research with IB customers and PAs and focused qualitative studies which examined different aspects of Pathways, such as PA roles and practices, Condition Management Programmes and Return to Work Credit; there is also a report on early quantitative evidence on the impact of Pathways (see list of published reports below).

See also:

Waddell, G. and Aylward, M. (2005) The scientific and conceptual basis of incapacity benefits, TSO, London

Waddell, G. and Burton, A. K. (2006) Is work good for your health and well being?, TSO, London.

The Quantitative impact evaluation with survey and administrative data

The overarching objective of the evaluation is to assess whether the programme meets the Critical Success Factors, which have been proposed for PL Pathways, listed below:

  • to help more IB and ESA customers into work within the first six to twelve months of their claim;
  • to help all other customers in receipt of incapacity related benefits to move into work;
  • to ensure once in work, customers have the best chance of staying in work.

The quantitative work is divided into two parts – impact analysis of PL Pathways (data analysis and surveys), and exploration of customer experience (surveys only). PSI is leading the work and carrying out the impact analyses, while Natcen is conducting the survey work and customer experience.

Genevieve Knight is leading the project. Researchers include Sergio Salis, Francesca Francavilla, Dragos Radu and Debra Hevenstone.

Published Reports for the quantitative evaluation of PL Pathways are now expected to take place in January 2011. The qualitative research has been published already.

Related publications

  • Hayllar, O. and Wood, M. (2011) Provider-led Pathways to Work: the experiences of new and repeat customers in phase one areas, Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No.723

    Read the report

  • Hudson, M. Phillips, J. Ray, K. Vegeris, S. and Davidson, R. (2010) The Influence of Outcome Based Contracting in Provider-led Pathways to Work. Department for Work and Pensions, DWP Research Report No 638

    Read the report

  • Stuart Adam, Antoine Bozio, Carl Emmerson, David Greenberg and Genevieve Knight (2008) A cost-benefit analysis of Pathways to Work for new and repeat incapacity benefits claimants, Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No 498

    Read the report

  • Hudson, M., Ray, K., Vegeris, S., Brooks, S. (2009) People with mental health conditions and Pathways to Work, Department for Work and Pensions, Research Report 593

    Read the report

  • Nice, K., Davidson, J., Sainsbury, R. (2009) Provider-led Pathways: Experiences and views of early implementation. Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No.595

    Read the report

  • Bewley, H., Dorsett, R., Salis, S. (2009) The impact of Pathways to Work on work, earnings and self-reported health in the April 2006 expansion areas, Research Report No 601, Norwich: Department for Work and Pensions

    Read the summary

  • Bewley, H., Dorsett, R., Salis, S. (2009) The impact of Pathways on benefit receipt in the expansion areas, Research Report 552, Norwich: Department for Work and Pensions

    Read the summary

  • Bewley, H., Dorsett, R. (2009) The impact of Pathways to Work on benefit receipt for the under 25s, Research Report 65, Department for Work and Pensions

    Read the report

  • Bewley, H., Dorsett, R., Salis, S. (2008) The impact of Pathways on benefit receipt in the expansion areas, Research Report No 552, Department for Work and Pensions

    Read the report

  • Dorsett, R. (2008) Pathways to Work for new and repeat incapacity benefits claimants: Evaluation synthesis report, Research Report No 525, Department for Work and Pensions

    Read the report

  • Dorsett, R. (2007) 'The effect of Pathways to Work on labour market outcomes', National Institute Economic Review 202: 79-89

  • Bewley, H., Dorsett, R., Haile, G. (2007) The impact of Pathways to Work, DWP Research Report 435

    Read the report

  • Barnes, H., Hudson, M. (2006) Pathways to Work: Qualitative research on the Condition Management Programme, DWP Research Report no. 346

    Read the report

  • Barnes, H., Hudson, M. (2006) Pathways to Work– extension to some existing customers: Early findings from qualitative research, DWP Research Report no. 323

    Read the report

Related publications / project outputs

Pathways to Work: Findings from the final cohort in a qualitative longitudinal panel of incapacity benefit recipients

Incapacity Benefit Reforms - early findings from qualitative research

Early quantitative evidence on the impact of the Pathways to Work pilots

Incapacity Benefit Reforms - the Personal Adviser role and practices: Stage Two

Pathways to Work from Incapacity Benefits: A study of experience and use of Return to Work Credit

Routes on to Incapacity Benefits: Findings from Qualitative Research

Incapacity Benefit Reforms Pilot: Findings from the second cohort in a longitudinal panel of clients

Provider-led Pathways to Work: Net impacts on Employment and Benefits

Incapacity Benefit reforms - the Personal Adviser role and practices: Stage Two

Incapacity Benefit Reforms Pilot: Findings from a longitudinal panel of clients

Incapacity Benefit Reforms - the Personal Adviser Role & Practices

A Stepping Stone to Employment?