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Work Search Premium Pilots

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 29 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to evaluate the Work Search Premium pilots. (76512)

The Work Search Premium (WSP) pilots are running in eight Jobcentre Plus districts. Lone parents participating in the pilots are paid a £20 a week premium for a maximum of 26 weeks to help with the costs associated with searching for work. Participation is voluntary and certain eligibility criteria must be met. Participants agree to undertake intensive work search and will also be entitled to help with the cost of formal childcare while undertaking work search activities.

The evaluation of the pilots aims to assess the long and short term effect of the pilots on lone parents and movements off benefit and into work. It consists of a quantitative impact assessment which will estimate the net impact of the WSP pilots on patterns of flows off Income Support and other working age benefits like jobseeker’s allowance, as well as other outcomes like entry into work.

The first published report, which we expect to publish in the autumn, will use 12 months of programme data and will examine the impact of the WSP on those lone parents already claiming benefit at the time of introduction of the pilot. A report covering 30 months of data will be published in autumn 2008, and one covering 48 months of data will be published in spring 2010.

In addition, qualitative evaluation will explore the impact of the pilots on the attitudes, motivations and responses of eligible lone parents, and examine the effectiveness of delivery. This will include interviews with lone parents and Jobcentre Plus lone parent advisers. We expect this report to be available in spring 2007.