Charities and private companies should play a bigger role in helping unemployed people find work as job centres are not doing enough, a new Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) report has said.
The research uncovered room for improvement within the UK’s Jobcentre Plus (JCP) network and highlighted how 'churn' in the system creates a cycle where people regularly move in and out of unstable work.
The report, Up to the Job? reveals that claimants can lack an up-to-date CV despite spending months with the JCP. It also shows that 40 per cent of claimants who move off Jobseeker's Allowance make another benefits claim within just six months.
The CSJ said JCP, which costs taxpayers £1.4 billion a year, focuses too much on arranging claimants’ benefits rather than identifying the factors preventing them from finding and keeping a job.
The current JCP measure looks at how quickly people stop claiming benefits - instead it should look at how many people move into sustainable work, the report said.
The report was featured as the lead story on BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat and the CSJ took part in interviews with BBC 5 Live Breakfast and with more than 10 BBC regional radio stations. Read coverage of the report on BBC online, Telegraph and Herald.
In its recommendations, the CSJ said the JCP network should be remodelled along the lines of the market-based Australian system, which has proved a world leader in getting people back into work. Australia’s mainstream employment services are delivered by over 100 profit-making and non-profit providers on a payment-by-results model. This has helped achieve the highest employment rate amongst G20 countries.
CSJ Director, Christian Guy, said: “We need a radical new approach if we want to transform lives and tackle worklessness. Innovative charities and private firms should be allowed to assist jobseekers who are crying out for help.”
He added: “The Government’s Universal Credit reforms, which were designed at the CSJ, will shake-up our broken welfare system and make sure that work is worthwhile for people.
“But that must only be phase one of the reforms. The next stage needs to be a revolution in how we offer support to those trying to get back into work.”