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Report cover showing woman reading a leaflet

Department for Work and Pensions: Using leaflets to communicate with the public about services and entitlements

“It is vital that people can rely on the accuracy of the leaflets the government produces to make informed choices about their lives. And it is vital that they can get hold of these leaflets and easily understand them when they do. The Department for Work and Pensions has made progress in these respects but needs to manage better the leaflets it produces to ensure those needing information can access it when they need to.”

Published:
25 Jan 2006
Report cover showing students at computers

Employers’ perspectives on improving skills for employment

“A more skilled workforce is vital for national productivity and the delivery of public services. Better skills are also important for the country to maintain its position in an increasingly competitive global economy.

“The doubts that some employers have about the value of skills training must be addressed by more streamlined communication with employers, by developing flexible and affordable training genuinely targeted on business needs, through incentives to employers, and effective channels through which employers can influence skills training”.

Published:
14 Dec 2005
Report cover showing a crossword

Dealing with the complexity of the benefits system

“The complexity of the benefits system is one of the most important issues affecting the performance of the Department for Work and Pensions. There is a balance to be struck between a system which is detailed enough to respond to needs and yet straightforward enough to be run efficiently, communicating clearly with customers and minimising error. This balance has not yet been reached. It is not for me to direct specific changes but I recommend that the Department builds on current work to tackle the problem both in the short and long term.”

Published:
18 Nov 2005
Report cover showing colleagues laughing and joking

Gaining and retaining a job: the Department for Work and Pensions’ support for disabled people

“Whilst not everyone with a disability is able to work, with the right support at the right time many disabled people can – and they deserve the opportunity to do so. The Department offers effective packages of support that enable people to overcome the barriers to employment and which are greatly appreciated by the people who participate in them.

“In order to reach more people, the Department needs to adopt a more flexible, cost-conscious, quality driven approach to enable the Department to make more progress towards its target for improving the employment rates of disabled people. Placing greater emphasis on helping people retain existing employment, could help individuals avoid distress and financial hardship while reducing the impact on public spending.”

Published:
13 Oct 2005
Report cover

Department for Work and Pensions Resource Accounts 2003-2004

“I welcome the Department’s achievement in meeting the Government’s target to reduce fraud and error in Income Support and Jobseeker’s Allowance. However, in 2003-2004, as a result of fraud and error, an estimated £3 billion of welfare benefit was paid to people who were not properly entitled to the money. Therefore the challenges the Department faces in reducing the scale of fraud and error across the benefit system to an acceptable level still remain very large indeed.”

Published:
18 Jan 2005
Report cover showing mother and baby

Helping Those in Financial Hardship: The Running of the Social Fund

“The Social Fund provides an important safety net for some of the most vulnerable in society, many of whom will have limited or no access to affordable credit and mainstream financial services. The Social Fund is reaching many people in need. But the Department needs to raise awareness of it both with potentially eligible customers and its own staff.

“I am pleased that the Department is improving its debt recovery procedures and standardising the process for dealing with Social Fund applications across the country. But I am concerned about the standard of decision-making on Social Fund applications, as evidenced by the high number of errors on certain awards.”

Published:
13 Jan 2005
Report cover showing people working around at table

Skills for life: improving adult literacy and numeracy

“Higher levels of literacy and numeracy will benefit England both socially and economically. More people will have the opportunity to live richer lives. The Department has made substantial progress since 2001 in improving the teaching of literacy and numeracy and making more people aware of the options and wanting to learn. But this is only the beginning. The Department and its partners will need to be creative and responsive if they are to reach another 1.5 million people by 2010. My report sets out some of the steps they need to take if they are to succeed.”

Published:
15 Dec 2004
Cover of report showing four images of people at work

Welfare to Work: Tackling the Barriers to the Employment of Older People

“Good progress has been made in increasing the employment rate for older people. As people are living longer it is important that they have better opportunities to continue working for longer, should they wish to do so, than has been the case in the past. There is scope for government agencies to focus their efforts on improving the employability of older people and for targeting disadvantaged groups. Success will bring benefits not only for the individual, but also for business, the taxpayer and the economy at large.”

Published:
15 Sep 2004
Cover of report

Child Support Agency Client Funds Account 2003-2004

“Once again I have had to qualify this account because of the high levels of historic error in maintenance assessments that completion of the Child Support Agency’s reforms are intended to remove. The operation of the new arrangements with their simplified methodology for calculating maintenance assessments has so far been disappointing. In 2003-2004, the first year of operation of the reform programme, the accuracy of maintenance assessments has not matched performance levels under the old scheme.

“I intend to report later on what the Agency is doing to achieve its agreed targets and to provide a faster and improved service to all parties and to complete the Reform programme.”

Published:
22 Jul 2004