I wish to update the House on the written statement tabled on 27 February 2023.
Earlier this month, the Department for Work and Pensions started testing a second phase of the additional jobcentre support pilot. The first phase went live on 27 February 2023, following a proof of concept. It tested how enhanced daily work-focused support, across two weeks, can further help eligible universal credit claimants in the intensive work search regime into employment.
Evidence shows that the longer a person is out of work, the harder it is for them to return. A claimant’s likelihood of securing employment declines after 13 weeks, so we are focusing this support on those who remain unemployed or with low earnings after 13 and 26 weeks of claiming universal credit.
The second phase will provide an additional week of daily support after the claimant’s first assessment period. This new earlier intervention will test the impact of a week of skills and employability focused support.
This builds on the first phase of the pilot which, in addition to this extra week of support, continues to test how enhanced daily work-focused support, across a two-week period, can further support eligible universal credit claimants into employment.
As with phase 1, phase 2 of the pilot continues to provide additional one-to-one work search conversations with work coaches and work search support sessions to help claimants. The “Claimant Commitment”, which sets out each claimant’s agreed work-related activities, will be regularly reviewed and activity will be focused on specific steps to support people to move into work.
Claimants will receive prior notice of the requirements they will be expected to fulfil. Eligibility remains unchanged and those with reduced requirements remain out of scope, including those:
Awaiting a work capability assessment;
Required to undertake less than 20 hours a week of work search activity;
Who are gainfully self-employed;
Who have no work-related requirements;
With an easement in place; and
On a full-time provision offer.
The second phase will be tested in the existing 60 pilot sites across central Scotland, Surrey and Sussex, West Yorkshire, Leicestershire, and Northamptonshire. Over the coming months, the pilot will expand further into more jobcentres.
DWP remains committed to providing tailored work-focused support to help move claimants into appropriate and sustainable work, where they can then experience the many benefits of employment.