A review of health-related support provision within the UK Work Programme : what's on the menu?

CEOLTA-SMITH, Jenny, SALWAY, Sarah and TOD, Angela (2015). A review of health-related support provision within the UK Work Programme : what's on the menu? Social Policy and Administration, 49 (2), 254-276.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/spol.12122
Link to published version:: 10.1111/spol.12122

Abstract

In common with other European welfare states, a large proportion of those who are out of work and claiming welfare benefits in the UK have long-term health conditions. The need to reduce the number of people who are claiming sickness related unemployment benefits by supporting them into paid work has been highlighted as a priority across the political spectrum since the late 1990s. However, recent years have seen a significant shift in UK welfare-to-work policy, with the introduction of the Work Programme in 2011. This unified programme diverges from earlier approaches in several important respects. The shift includes a move towards so-called 'black box' commissioning, through which contracted organizations are given far greater freedom to design and deliver their interventions. Therefore, important questions arise regarding whether and how support for claimants with health conditions will be provided across Work Programme areas and the implications for claimant outcomes. This article begins to address these questions by reviewing Work Programme Prime Contractors' (Primes) proposed approaches as set out in their bids. Using a structured, interpretive analytical framework, bid documents prepared by the 18 Primes were reviewed and synthesized. The findings showed that individuals facing similar health-related obstacles to employment can expect to receive very different levels and types of support depending on which Primes' programme they are assigned to join. This review suggests that policy needs to ensure that claimants' health-related barriers to employment are addressed. Research to explore how claimants' health-related needs are being met in practice is also recommended.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Identification Number: 10.1111/spol.12122
Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2015 10:30
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2015 10:30
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9606

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