Qualitative study of Provider-Led Pathways to Work in phase 2 areas

Funded by: Department for Work and Pensions

Duration:

January 2009 to October 2009

PSI researchers:


Background, summary and aims

Background, Scope and Aims

Following the introduction of Provider-Led Pathways to Work (PL Pathways) in 15 Jobcentre Plus ( JCP) districts in December 2007 (phase 1), and a further 16 JCP districts in April 2008 (phase 2), the national coverage of the Pathways programme is now complete.

In late 2007, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) commissioned qualitative research in phase 1 PL Pathways districts in order to provide early feedback on the experiences of customers, provider staff and JCP staff. This work is being conducted by the Social Policy Research Unit, University of York and is due to report in early 2009. As part of the ongoing evaluation of PL Pathways, DWP would like to commission similar qualitative research in phase 2 PL Pathways districts.

The purpose of this research is to provide feedback on the delivery and experience of PL Pathways in phase 2 districts, from the perspective of both provider and JCP staff, as well as the customer experience of the programme. This research will contribute to informing the ongoing policy development in PL Pathways.

Project Design

This study employs a similar design to that used during the implementation study within phase 1 Provider-Led Pathways districts. This should ensure a good level of comparability. The study will present findings on the implementation and delivery of PL Pathways within phase 2 districts, from the perspective of both provider and JCP staff, as well as customers. This study is being led by the National Centre for Social Research. The fieldwork with staff, and initial analysis of data collected, will be carried out by the Policy Studies Institute (PSI).

Importance of Research

In September 2008, the Employment Support Allowance (ESA) was introduced for new Pathways customers. ESA replaces Incapacity Benefit for these customers. The introduction of ESA has been accompanied by the introduction of a new Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and Work Focused Health Related Assessment (WFHRA) to assess an individual’s entitlement to ESA and identify the possible support needed to get back into the workplace. This research will contribute to informing the ongoing policy development in PL Pathways in this evolving context of provision.