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Mark Stamper Development Manager, A4e. Purpose. Purpose of Today's session To give a brief introduction to A4e Overview of the Work programme, Context and progress to date Changing customer conditionality and the Work Programme Changing customer experience and expectations
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Mark Stamper Development Manager, A4e
Purpose Purpose of Today's session • To give a brief introduction to A4e • Overview of the Work programme, Context and progress to date • Changing customer conditionality and the Work Programme • Changing customer experience and expectations • A4e’s Work Programme Principles, minimum service levels and delivery model • Discussion and Questions: • Feedback on customer retention, progression and conditionality – how can we ensure continued engagement and pragmatic approaches to conditionality.
A4e – Introduction • A4e was founded in 1991 • We currently employ over 3,000 people • Currently largest single supplier to the DWP • A4e deliver services from over 250 community locations • A4e works with a network of over 100,000 employers • A4e has a supply chain of over 700 strategic and delivery partners • Last year A4e and its partners: • assisted 17,681 into work • helped 10,695 people gain a qualification • worked with 13,523 employers
Work Programme – Context and Progress to date In June 2010, the Government announced radical reform welfare to work services and launched the Work Programme. The Work Programme has consolidated and replaced many of the existing programmes delivered by providers such as A4e. 40 Prime Contracts awarded nationally, to 18 providers. One of a range of welfare reforms spanning both active and inactive benefits and Employment and Skills
Work Programme – Context and Progress to date (2) • The Process: • Commissioning • Contract Award – 5 A4e Prime Contracts, 5 Sub-contracts • Where we are now – Implementation/ Go live • The Programme: • Key changes – where have we come from – what's the difference? • Flexibility – Black Box delivery – Work Programme Vs New Deal • Changing customer groups and barriers • Length of programme and earlier intervention • Payment by results and risk sharing • Focus on sustainability • What is the WP designed to achieve • Key challengesto successful delivery
Changing Customer Conditionality and the Work Programme • The Work programme is a mandatory programme upon referral at key stages of a benefit claim – Customers will be required upon referral to engage for up to 2 years. • Increased flexibility and length of support is conditional on customers engaging proactively – “We will provide much better back to work support for hundreds of thousands of people and their families. But in return we will expect them to use that support – and if they refuse they will lose their benefits”. [Chris Grayling] • Work programme is not the first source of support for customers – they will already have been through the Jobcentre Plus support pathways without moving into employment (Est. 8% of claimant flows). • Claimants who have been on previously inactive benefits will be subject to a stricter regime (ESA WRAG, JSA) if found fit for work.
The Providers Role in Sanctions • There are 2 Types of Sanction: • Compliance Doubts – customers who fail to comply with reasonable activity requests • Entitlement Doubts – Customers who are not fulfilling the basic requirement of their Jobseekers Agreement. • Providers are expected to raise concerns with DWP/JCP Decision Making Authority if customers demonstrate characteristics of either category above – it remains the decision of JCP to apply any sanctions after considering all available information.
Challenges Conditionality poses to providers • Customers are on Work programme for 2 years – either on befits or in employment – it is in our interest to maintain engagement • Providers are only paid when customers sustain work – disengaged or sanctioned customers will effect performance • Sanctioned customers are unlikely to re-engage positively • How to make a mandatory programme ‘feel’ voluntary through customer experience and flexibility – though still under strict work first principles • Getting the balance right • Its not just our decision – raising customer awareness of behaviors leading to sanction from the start – ‘My Work programme Agreement’
Changing Customer Experience and Expectations • Bringing together our knowledge of the customer and the aims of the Work • Programme, we have set out the following work programme principles: • Job first for customers • Focus on what customers can do rather than what they can’t do • Advisors work with customers throughout their journey to stable employment • Identify and support customers by the challenges they face not the benefit they are on. • Support and challenge the customer to become ready for work and into work • Support the customer to manage a health condition not eliminate it • Actively manage the employer base • Proactive links to other initiatives – Skills, Enterprise, local agendas
Changing Customer Experience and Expectations • Customers who are able to work but do not engage - their journey programme will become increasingly tough • Show each customer why their lives are better in work than not working • We will believe in the customer more than they will believe in themselves • It will always be better for customers to work than to remain on programme • We will have an honest and direct relationship with the customer • We do not expect to go live with the finished operating model on Day 1 • We will be highly structured, but flexible in our approach
Stage 2 - A4e 5 Building Blocks of Sustainability The core requirements to move away from benefits dependency
In Summary • The Work Programme and the wider benefit system will expect more from customers – but will give more flexible support in return. • Customers will be made aware and reminded that they are under ‘mutually agreed’ obligations when on the programme. • It is in the providers interests that customers remain engaged, progress into work and remain there. • Customer circumstances will form a pivotal role in the sanctioning process – especially before Universal Credit is introduced – a pragmatic approach is needed.
Thank You Final Points & Questions Mstamper@a4e.co.uk – 0778 633 8462