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. It is being run by the Institute for Employment Studies in partnership with abrdn Financial Fairness Trust.

Since its launch, the Commission has run a major Call for Evidence that received around one hundred responses; held over twenty consultation events, workshops and focus groups; and conducted a wide ranging review of the literature around around ‘what works’ in employment support. More recently, we has been developing proposals for future reform through a series of design workshops, expert roundtables and focus groups with people and employers who use employment support and services.

The Commission's proposals will be published later in the summer. In the meantime, and in advance of the General Election, we have published an article setting out five priorities for the next Parliament that will form the basis of the Commission's recommendations, around:

  1. Ambitious objectives: for more people in better work, and narrowing 'gaps' for those disadvantaged in the labour market
  2. Clear guarantees that those who want help will be able to get it, and guarantees of more specialist support for those with greater needs
  3. Reforming 'conditionality': to focus on what you can do not what you must do, and on empowering people rather than compliance
  4. A 'one stop' service that joins up employment, careers and skills support, through better-integrated services and a transformed digital offer
  5. Labour Market Partnerships in England (with full devolution to Scotland and Wales) to plan, commission and join up support, particularly for those who are most disadvantaged in the labour market 


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 – Director of Research and Policy, Institute for Public Policy Research

Carmen Watson – Chairperson, Pertemps Network Group

Fran Beasley – former Chief Executive, London Borough of Hillingdon

Karen Brookes – Chief People Officer, Sir Robert McAlpine

Kate Bell – Assistant General Secretary, Trades Union Congress

Kayley Hignell – Head of Policy (Families, Welfare and Work), Citizens Advice

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 

Further background

The interim report of the Commission, setting out the findings from the Call for Evidence, initial evidence review and roundtables and focus groups, is available here:

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

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

If you want to contribute to the Commission or to learn more about the work, then please email us at