The event was organised by Walcot Foundation with our partners Trust for London, Timewise Foundation, Centre for Economic and Social Exclusion and LVSC in order to generate ideas for this new area of service provision. The day’s discussions produced a range of insights and recommendations and the full report can be found here.
1. A more streamlined approach to employment support provision
- Integrate ‘back to work’ and ‘progression’ support into a seamless service that would address the underlying issues – that of poverty. Services should be configured so that they are regarded as ‘employment pathways’. The target should be ‘above poverty’ wages (not just any job).
2. Targeted advice needed for low paid workers
- Invest in workforce development enabling providers to develop skills needed to assist low paid workers eg: negotiating with employers
- Develop a programme of advice and support targeted at those in low paid work, which is flexible and accessible eg working evenings/weekend at supermarkets, churches, work places
- Provide holistic support to manage all aspects of the transition to new jobs, including – childcare (finding suitable/affordable childcare, hours that fit around work, understanding entitlement to support e.g. vouchers) and benefits (how increased earnings impact housing benefit, council tax benefit etc).
3. Employers need to be encouraged to take on this agenda
- Build a strong business case for educating employers, benefits including flexible working, reducing recruitment costs, improving staff retention
- Work with employers to analyse their own workforce eg: re-design jobs
- Could employers act as a face for campaigns for progression in the workplace? This would enable employers to set examples of good practice, demonstrate the tangible benefits (e.g. lower staff turnover, higher productivity) and influence smaller companies through supply chains (e.g. ensuring all contracted service staff are paid the living wage).
- Target a sector specific approach – involving trade unions / sector skills council to develop progression routes.