The Commission on the Future of Employment Support

IES News

25 Jul 2023

The Commission on the Future of Employment Support has been set up to develop evidence-led proposals for reform of our system of employment support and services, so that it can better meet the needs of individuals, employers and our economy.

The Commission is defining employment support as those public or publicly-funded services that:

  • Help people who want to move into work, stay in work or progress in work to do so – regardless of what (if any) benefits they are on, and where and how those services are delivered; and
  • Help employers to find, recruit and retain the right people for their jobs.

The Commission launched in November 2022 and will conclude in early 2024. It has now completed its main evidence gathering on the current system and the opportunities and challenges for the future. This comprised a major Call for Evidence that received around one hundred responses; twenty consultation events, workshops and focus groups; and an extensive review of the literature around ‘what works’ in employment support. The findings from this were published in an interim report on 25 July 2023, here:

Next steps

The next stage of the Commission’s work will start to develop options for future reform. We want these proposals to fully involve people who use employment services now or who would want to use them in a reformed system, those who deliver or commission them, and wider stakeholders. As far as possible, we want to develop proposals that are co-designed, evidence-led and that can command broad support.

We’ll be doing that through a mixture of online and in person consultation events and workshops, as well as focus groups with service users.  We are keen to involve in this process anyone with an interest in employment and related services, and all of the hundreds of organisations and individuals who have contributed so far. If you would like to be involved too, then please sign up to the IES mailing list at You can also email us at


The Commission is being overseen by ten commissioners bringing a range of perspectives, expertise and experience in employment support, public services, business and civil society. The Institute for Employment Studies is providing the secretariat for the Commission, with funding and support from abrdn Financial Fairness Trust.

Ashwin Kumar – Professor of Social Policy, Manchester Metropolitan University

Carmen Watson – Chairperson, Pertemps Network Group

Fran Beasley – former Chief Executive, London Borough of Hillingdon

Karen Brookes – Director of People and Infrastructure, Sir Robert McAlpine

Kate Bell – Assistant General Secretary, Trades Union Congress

Liz Sayce – Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics and Political Science

Michael Sheen – actor and producer

Mubin Haq – Chief Executive, abrdn Financial Fairness Trust

Neil Carberry – Chief Executive, Recruitment and Employment Confederation

Sumi Rabindrakumar – Head of Policy (Families, Welfare and Work), Citizens Advice (maternity cover)

Further background

The launch report for the Commission and an accompanying evidence paper are available at the following links:

You can learn more about the Commission in this recording of a webinar to officially launch the Commission, in early December 2022:

A short summary of the key themes and issues raised by respondents to the Call for Evidence was published in May 2023 and is also available here: