The future of UK employment support

ICOSS Conference Room, University of Sheffield, Monday 13 June 2016, 2:00-4:30

imagePolicy makers, commentators and academics will discuss the future of the UK’s employment support system in the second Sheffield Solutions seminar next month.

The half-day seminar, hosted by the Faculty of Social Sciences, will look at the changing landscape of employment support in the UK and the key challenges it faces.

A panel of expert speakers includes:

  • Mat Ainsworth, Lead for Employment Initiatives and ‘Expanded Working Well’ integrated employment support programme, Greater Manchester Combined Authority
  • Laura Dewar, Policy Officer, Gingerbread
  • Matthew Oakley, Senior Researcher, Social Market Foundation, Social Security Advisory Committee and author of Employment Support for a high-wage economy (JRF, 2015) & the independent Oakley review of benefit sanctions (DWP, 2014)
  • Iain Walsh, Director of Labour Market Strategy and International Affairs, Department for Work and Pensions
  • Dr Adam Whitworth, Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Sheffield

At the national level Jobcentre Plus delivery is to be transformed around Universal Credit aspirations towards work and earnings progression, IT platforms bring new possibilities but also new risks, and the much-discussed Work Programme nears its end and its evolution into the new Work and Health Programme from 2017.

And at the city-region level exciting new opportunities are emerging around locally integrated services and budgets to wrap-around and broaden shared central-local employment aspirations.

Yet despite these ever moving systemic, financial and geographical policy shifts core challenges remain in the UK system: resources are tight and stretched further to new claimants both in and out of work under Universal Credit.

Better targeting remains necessary and designing effective contracted-out schemes that deliver value for money remains challenging. Supporting claimants with more significant support needs – individuals with health conditions and disabilities, housing, skills or substance misuse issues – also requires new approaches.

This half-day seminar offers insight and debate from our expert panel and audience members and is sure to provide stimulating discussion around all this and more. The event is free to attend but by registration only on a first-come first-serve basis. The event will be followed by an informal drinks reception.

Registration for the event is now open. Email claire.williams@sheffield.ac.uk if you have any questions.