Street-level practice, personalisation and co-production in employability: insights from local services with lone parents

Colin Lindsay, Sarah Pearson, Elaine Batty, Anne Marie Cullen, Will Eadson

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Abstract

Policymakers in the UK have promised to deliver personalised employability services for vulnerable jobseekers. However, unemployed people often describe their engagement with state-funded services as defined by: the offer of low cost, standardised job search services; and pressure to accept any job, irrespective of quality or appropriateness. This article argues that more progressive, co-produced alternatives are possible. We draw on an evaluation of local, third sector-led services targeting lone parents (LPs) in five local government areas in Scotland. Our research involved more than 100 in-depth interviews with both service providers and LPs. We find that partnership-oriented co-governance mechanisms facilitated collaborative approaches to the management of services and processes of co-production. LPs expressed positive views of the personalised services that were co-produced. We conclude that a commitment to collaboration and co-production may be more effective in promoting personalised services that are responsive to the needs of vulnerable groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-658
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Policy and Society
Volume18
Issue number4
Early online date21 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • employability
  • Co-production
  • active labour market policy
  • unemployment
  • public services
  • public management

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