Hard times: smoothing transitions in the Employment and Support Allowance customer journey

Deirdre Hughes, Erika Kispeter, Daria Luchinskaya

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The Work Programme, launched in June 2011, offered providers a new and exciting opportunity to design services for long term unemployed customers utilising what government referred to as a ‘black box’ approach. Prospects rose to the challenge of implementing the Work Programme in the South West by creating a very different kind of employability programme called ‘Ascent’
which was tailored to individuals and the barriers they faced in the return to employment.
The Work Programme has proven to be very challenging indeed with the need to respond to changing customer groups, fluctuating referral levels and an evolving dynamic within the labour market.
Those most in need of support often refer to the hard times they are currently experiencing. Our focus has been to smooth the transitions of customers claiming the Employability and Support Allowance. By working with Prospects they have benefited from:
Tailored support to meet individual needs Flexibility in the context of learning, one to one support sessions and group interventions
Well-developed links with support organisations at the local level to connect to customers with specialist services.
It is this support that has empowered many of our customers to bring about changes in their lifestyle, improved health and wellbeing outcomes and success in finding work. This has enabled Prospects to become one of the top 10 providers overall nationally.
Our experience over the last five years builds on evidence-based practice that will continue to inform future service design and delivery leading to improved life chances for all our customers.
We are proud of what our customers and colleagues have achieved together.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKent
Number of pages56
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • work programme
  • employment and support allowance

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