An evaluation of Partners Outreach for Ethnic Minorities (POEM)

The policy intent of POEM was to improve the economic activity of its target groups: Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Somali women, by addressing their barriers to work, including cultural barriers, confidence, knowledge of labour market options and jobsearch and interview skills. In practice, a far wider range of eligible clients are on POEM: almost half are men, and while Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Black African clients are the largest groups on the programme, it is actually open to people of any ethnicity, and has been operating as such. It is being delivered by 10 private sector providers in six cities in England - the main challenge for them has been finding eligible clients through outreach and referrals from suitable community partners. In a mainly qualitative evaluation of this voluntary programme for the Department of Work and Pensions, IES is undertaking case study work with all providers, interviewing clients, and analysing the management information returned by all providers to DWP.