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NEW DEAL FOR LONE PARENTS: STATISTICS FOR WALES

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This is the second in a regular series giving key information on the 'New Deal for Lone Parents' in Wales. The full...
This is the second in a regular series giving key information on the 'New Deal for Lone Parents' in Wales. The full national 'New Deal for Lone Parents' programme was implemented on 26th October 1998. It had already been operating in a limited capacity from 6th April 1998.

The programme is aimed primarily at lone parents in receipt of income support with a youngest child of school age. Lone parents whose youngest child is below school age may also volunteer to join the 'New Deal for Lone Parents', but are not automatically invited to join the programme.

Key Points

During the period October 1998 to June 1999 :

- almost 4,300 lone parents started the 'New Deal', by attending an initial interview. Of these, almost 3,900 (90 per cent) agreed to join the caseload, (whereby they receive support and guidance to help them into jobs);

- almost 1,100 or 27 per cent of those who joined the caseload found jobs;

- just under 900 lone parents left the 'New Deal', of whom almost 400 left for employment;

- of the 3,100 lone parents still participating at the end of June 1999, 96 per cent were female; 24 per cent were aged under 25; and 4 per cent were people with disabilities.

Commentary for Tables

Table 1 summarises the numbers attending initial interview (starting), and leaving the 'New Deal for Lone Parents' in the period October 1998 to June 1999. Participation built up from just under 800 at the end of December 1998, to nearly 2,400 by the end of March 1999, to nearly 3,400 at the end of June 1999.

95 per cent of those attending an initial interview have been female; 4 per cent have been people with disabilities; and less than 1 per cent from ethnic minority groups. The age distribution of those attending initial interview shows 24 per cent aged under 25, 45 per cent aged 25-34, and 31 per cent aged 35 and over.

Table 2 summarises job outcomes and education/training provision. By the end of June 1999, almost 1,100 (27 per cent of those who agreed to join the New Deal caseload) had gained employment.

Of the 1,100 entering employment two-thirds were still on the New Deal receiving in-work support from their personal advisors, with the remainder having left for unsupported employment.

A further 200 (5 per cent) have undertaken a full-time course of education or training since attending an advisory interview.

Also, 60 lone parents who had part-time jobs on joining the 'New Deal' have since increased their working week to over 16 hours, ie the level at which they are no longer eligible for income support.

Table 3 shows the numbers attending an initial interview and subsequently agreeing to join the caseload, ie becoming immediately active on the New Deal. In the period to the end of June 1999, 90 per cent of the 4,300 or so who attended initial interviews joined the caseload.

Tables 4a & 4b show initial interviews and agreements to join the caseload, by Target and Non-Target group. (The Target Group relates to those lone parents with a youngest child of school age, ie over 5 years and 3 months).

Of the 4,300 initial interviews in the period to the end of June 1999, 53 per cent have been from the target group. Of the starts from the target group, 58 per cent volunteered to join the programme early - without having received a formal invitation letter, (normally sent after an 8 week claim on income support).

Table 5 shows where those participating at the end of June 1999 were in the 'New Deal' process. The majority of the 3,100 participants (70 per cent) were receiving initial advice and guidance. A further 24 per cent were receiving in-work support and the remaining 6 per cent were in some form of education or training.

Of those receiving in-work support, the majority (94 per cent) were no longer in receipt of Income Support, ie generally working more than 16 hours per week.

The number of participants is lower than the number of lone parents on the 'New Deal' shown in Table 1, (3,400.) This is because Table 5 excludes those lone parents who have attended an advisory interview, but as yet have made no decision as to whether or not they intend to actively participate in the 'New Deal', ie join the caseload.

Table 6 shows the immediate destination of the 900 or so lone parents who have left the 'New Deal'. Of these :

- 42 per cent left for employment

- 11 per cent were no longer eligible (eg those who remarried)

- 9 per cent transferred to other benefits or did not become active on the 'New Deal'

- 27 per cent withdrew for other reasons but remained on income support

- 11 per cent left for unknown destinations

Of those who have withdrawn and whose destination is unknown, a proportion will have found work, but will not have been recorded as such on the systems which generate the data. Of the leavers with a known destination, 62 per cent have left Income Support.

Figures prior to 26 October 1999

During the period 21 July 1997 to 25 October 1998, it is estimated that just under 2,900 interviews with lone parents were arranged; 2,300 were actually carried out and almost 2,200 lone parents agreed to participate in the 'New Deal'. Of these, almost 800 entered employment.

NOTES

1. Introduction: The statistics in this Statistical Release cover participants in Phase 3 of the New Deal for Lone Parents (NDLP) in Wales, Phase 3 being the full national programme which was implemented on 26 October 1998. This programme is aimed at all lone parents on Income Support. Previously, Phase 1 began on 21 July 1997 in 8 prototype areas, and Phase 2, which ran from 6 April 1998, extended NDLP services to all lone parents nationally making new or repeat claims for income support (but excluded lone parents who were already benefit recipients.)

2. Objectives of the NDLP Programme: The objective of the NDLP programme is that once their youngest child is in full-time school, lone parents on income support will be offered advice by the Employment Service to develop a package of job search, training and after-school care to help them off benefit and into work. The service is delivered through Employment Service Jobcentres, and personal advisers will deliver a tailored package of advice and support to meet the needs of individual lone parents. Participation in the NDLP is on a voluntary basis.

3. Eligibility: The NDLP programme is primarily aimed at those lone parents on income support whose youngest child is of school age (the target group), and this group is actively encouraged to participate. All lone parents in the target group making new or repeat claims for income support are invited to see a personal adviser 8 weeks into their claims. The larger number of existing claimants are invited for interview on a gradual basis. The service is also available to those with younger children (the non-target group) if they put themselves forward for an initial interview.

4. Outline of process: Following the initial adviser interview, lone parents may either agree or decline to join the NDLP caseload. Whilst on the caseload participants will receive a package of support and guidance to help them into jobs. The support is wide-ranging, from encouraging lone parents to identify their skills and develop confidence to seek work, to the more practical aspects of applying for jobs, finding childcare, identifying training opportunities, calculating how much better off they can be in work and sorting out in-work benefits. Personal advisers can also provide an in-work support service to help lone parents with any difficulties encountered while making the transition into employment.

5. The NDLP can also help arrange places on Employment Service programmes and Work Based Learning for Adults, or advise and support lone parents who need to undertake other training that will lead into work. Where, in discussion, advisers agree that a particular course is needed, they may award financial assistance, (where the course is not provided free of charge, and within agreed limits), to cover necessary fees and fares, and childcare costs to support periods of training.

6. Source of the data: The original source of most of the data in this Statistical Release is the Labour Market System (LMS) installed in Employment Service's local offices. This is an IT system which is used to record the ES's contacts with clients. It maintains a basic client record; allows the preferred occupations stated by clients to be matched against suitable vacancies; records actions such as interviews, referrals to training opportunities, job placements etc. In particular, it has been significantly enhanced to record New Deal-specific actions.

7. The relevant data are extracted from the main system each month and added to a New Deal Evaluation Database maintained by ES's Research and Development Division. This Evaluation Database also incorporates data from other sources: data on claimant unemployment extracted from the Joint Unemployment and Vacancies Operating System (JUVOS) maintained by the Office for National Statistics, which is the primary source of published statistics on claimant unemployment, and data from the Work Based Learning for Adults (WBLA) Database maintained by the Department for Education and Employment.

8. Definitions: the following notes explain the definitions underlying the data presented here, except where these are self-explanatory, e.g. gender, age on entry.

9. Date of entry: an individual is generally deemed as starting NDLP from the date they attend an initial Adviser interview.

10. Leaving the New Deal for Lone Parents: when an individual leaves NDLP they are recorded according to their destination on leaving, as follows:-

- to employment (either on or off of Income Support);

- transferred to other benefits. Refers to lone parents making a claim for a more appropriate benefit e.g. Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA);

- no longer eligible due to a change in circumstances. For example lone parents who re-partner;

- declined to join the caseload. Lone parents who, having attended an initial Adviser interview, decide not to participate further on NDLP;

- withdrawn for other reasons. Lone parents who remain on Income Support but withdraw from the caseload for reasons other than 'found employment'.

- unknown destinations. Lone parents who leave for reasons other than those listed above or with a leaving code of 'not known'. It should be noted that these cases are 'not known' as far as the statistical reporting systems are concerned - in some cases, staff in Jobcentres may know the reason for the individual ceasing to claim, but this is not captured systematically by LMS.

11. People with a disability: this entry is based on the individual's own assessment and signed confirmation given to ES staff, that the person believes themselves to be disabled in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act definition. That is, they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. (Note that this will not necessarily be consistent with sources such as the Labour Force Survey, which rely entirely on self-assessment, without further discussion or endorsement.)

12. Ethnic origin: The basis of the data is self-assessment by the individual client. The categories are the same as in most statistical sources, except that there is a specific option for the client to record 'preferred not to say'. This option is chosen by around 3% of clients.

* tables are available on request from LGCnet. Tel 0171 833 7324/5.

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