Committee to examine Government’s Plan for Jobs and employment support measures
11 July 2022
The Work and Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry into the Government’s Plan for Jobs and other initiatives - both those introduced since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and wider schemes - aimed at helping people find and stay in work.
The inquiry will examine the effectiveness of employment support programmes including Kickstart, Restart, Way to Work and the Work and Health Programme. It will look at the role of Jobcentre Plus and work coaches and how DWP could work more effectively with employers and other organisations. The inquiry will include consideration of what may be needed to encourage back into work people who are not claiming benefits.
There will also be a focus on the support for groups disadvantaged in the labour market such as young people, disabled people, women and people in low paid jobs. The Committee’s report from 2020 on DWP’s response to the coronavirus pandemic recommended that employment support be tailored to meet the needs of such groups.
The Committee has also previously made recommendations on the need to properly plan for long-term changes in the labour market and change its approach to disability employment support to close the disability employment gap.
Rt Hon Sir Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said: “With the number of people in work still nearly 300,000 below pre-pandemic levels and job vacancies at a record high, it is vital that employment support schemes are as effective as possible in both reaching the right people and matching workers with employers.
The pandemic impacted some people in the labour market more than others and we must make sure that members of disadvantaged groups, such as disabled people, are getting proper support to ensure everyone has equal opportunities when it comes to work.
Our inquiry will examine the effectiveness of employment support measures, introduced both before and in response to the pandemic, and ensure that the Government is agile to adapting to changes in the world of work, both for the good of all workers and the UK’s economic recovery.”
The Plan for Jobs, which was published in July 2020, included the Kickstart scheme, which provided funding to employers to create new jobs for young people on Universal Credit.
The Restart scheme, which gave Universal Credit claimants who have been out of work for at least nine months enhanced support to find jobs, was launched the following November, with the Way to Work campaign announced in January this year. Latest labour market statistics are available here.
Terms of Reference
The Committee would like to hear views on the following questions. You don’t have to answer all of
the questions. You can respond on behalf of an organisation, or as an individual.
The deadline for submissions is Friday 16th September.
- Some groups of people, such as disabled people or young people, tend to do less well in the labour market than others. How has the pandemic affected that?
- The number of vacancies is at a record high. What is stopping employers from filling those vacancies?
- How could DWP better target its employment support programmes towards sectors that have large numbers of vacancies?
- Employment levels are still lower than their pre-pandemic level. What is driving this, and how important is employment support provision in addressing it?
- What is driving increases in economic inactivity – for example, amongst people with health conditions and older people?
- What is the impact of increased economic inactivity, and what role should DWP have in addressing it?
- How effective are DWP’s employment support programmes? This might include:
- the Work and Health Programme
- Other specialist programmes, such as Sector Based Work Academies or the Youth Offer?
- What has been the impact of the Way to Work campaign?
- How effective is DWP’s support for self-employed people, and how could it be improved?
- How effective is support from Jobcentre Work Coaches? Are there ways that DWP could be using its resources (eg. Work Coaches) more effectively than it is at the moment?
- How effective is employment support for people in rural areas?
- What has been the impact on employment support providers of winding down the European Social Fund? Is the UK Shared Prosperity Fund working well as a replacement?
- How could DWP work more effectively with employers to ensure that people coming through Jobcentre Plus are well-equipped to fill vacancies?
- How could DWP work more effectively with other Departments and external organisations (eg. the third sector and private sector) in delivering employment support?
- What can DWP learn from the third sector, local government and the private sector about how to best deliver employment support?
- Are there any international examples of successful employment support schemes that DWP could learn from?
- DWP both provides employment support and administers benefits. How well is it fulfilling that dual role, and is there a case for a different model?
- Should the Government provide employment support to people who are not on benefits? If so, how could that support best be provided?
- How can DWP’s employment services best support in-work progression?
- Building on the recommendations of the Taylor review, what should be DWP’s role in ensuring that work is “good work”?
- How can the Government best ensure that work pays?
- In May 2022 the Government announced that Matt Warman MP would lead a review into how the Government can best support a thriving labour market. What are the key policy challenges for DWP?