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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

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

Getting it right, putting it right – Improving decision-making and appeals in social security benefits

“While more than 90 per cent of payments are accurate, more than a fifth of the Department of Work and Pensions thousands of decisions each day on benefits contain errors. Although the number represents less than one per cent of decisions, a quarter of a million people a year go to an appeal tribunal and 40 per cent of these cases are changed in favour of the customer. Customers are also having to wait too long for the outcome. The Department could not only reduce the number of cases where customers have to go through stressful appeals but also save money for the taxpayer, if they got more decisions right first time and put right errors effectively.

“The Department should make improving decision-making a priority in their ongoing programme of organisational change. By focusing more on good quality evidence and effective communication, and setting minimum service standards, they can help to ensure that customers across the country know what to expect from the system and have increased confidence in it.”

Published:
7 Nov 2003
Published:
2 Mar 2021

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