Call for more action on in-work progression reinforced by DWP Committee

11 May 2016

Reforms to employment support services for in-work Universal Credit claiments in England are potentially “the most significant welfare reform since 1948”, the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee has said as it publishes the it’s recommendations to Government on ‘In-work progression in Universal Credit’. Echoing concerns raised by Learning and Work Institute, the Committee warns Government that an urgent step-change in needed in addressing the barriers workers face which might prevent them meeting requirements to meet their earnings. We welcome the Committee’s report, especially in highlighting the need for in-work progression trials and much stronger engagement between Jobcentre Plus and employers.

Frank Field MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said,

“The in-work service promoses progress in finally breaking the cycle of people getting stuck in low pay, low prospects employment. We congratulate the Government for developing this innovation. As far as we can tell, nothing like this has been tried anywhere else in the world. This is a very different kind of welfare, which will require developing a new kind of public servant.”

Tony Wilson, Policy and Research Director at Learning and Work Institute, who gave evidence to this inquiry, said:

“There are far too many people in low paid employment who are not getting the support they need to progress into a better paid job and move up the ladder. That’s why we welcome this inquiry report as a powerful contribution to building the right, high quality employment support services needed to help people increase their earnings and become less dependent on in-work benefits.

“We’re pleased to see the Committee agree with us about the importance of trials, the need for services to be organised and delivered differently and with more partners, and for better impact measures such as poverty and productivity.

“Learning and Work has a growing evidence base to support the Department rolling out these important reforms. We have evaluated small-scale in-work support trials delivered by Timewise in South London for DWP and are working with Trust for London and the Walcot Foundation to support the ‘Step Up’ programme’s six in-work support trials for low paid workers.

“We hope the Department for Work and Pensions closely considers these recommendations in its response to the Committee.”

Learning and Work Institute’s submission to the inquiry can be downloaded here