In many fields, such as health and social care, personalisation, co-production and tailoring to local needs are commonly accepted as important features. In contrast, employment support remains highly centralised and poorly integrated with other services and local labour markets. Yet people powered models are likely to have huge potential to improve employment support.
There is a wave of new innovations that take a people-centred approach to supporting jobseekers. These range from Volition, which provides meaningful volunteering opportunities and connections to the world of work, to Smart Works, through which professional women volunteer to help other women who have been out of work to prepare for interviews.
Steps Ahead makes use of CIPD members’ professional skills to mentor jobseekers. Meanwhile, in some areas Jobcentre Plus has taken advantage of opportunities for local flexibility to offer radically different service models - such as MyGo, the youth jobcentre in Ipswich, or services co-located and co-managed with the local authority in Leeds. However, this type of innovation is relatively rare and not actively championed.
The introduction of Universal Credit will create an even stronger incentive for the state to help jobseekers find good, living wage jobs. We believe this can best be achieved by making much better use of People Powered approaches to support jobseekers into employment.
1. Set up a ‘People Powered Jobcentre’ demonstration project, enabling 10-20 areas to experiment with new models of employment service delivery that are highly networked, people-centred and tailored to local needs and opportunities.
2. Make greater use of Jobcentre Plus Freedoms and Flexibilities to develop and commission projects and services that put the principles of ‘people helping people’ at their core.