Employer engagement and Jobcentre Plus
Local Employment Partnerships (LEPs), introduced in 2007, aimed to increase the propensity of employers to recruit disadvantaged people into work and were part of a broader effort to connect workless individuals with vacancies, overcoming barriers to work and improving the job matching services offered by Jobcentre Plus and its partners. LEPs were originally aimed at disadvantaged jobseekers who had been out of work for six months or more or who fell into a Jobcentre Plus priority group. The policy emphasis changed with the recession to include newly unemployed Jobseeker’s Allowance customers.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) commissioned the Institute for Employment Studies to evaluate LEPs. This evaluation centred around two waves of qualitative interviews with a range of personnel: national Jobcentre Plus, DWP and Learning and Skills Council (LSC) staff; Jobcentre Plus district and local staff in eight areas in England, Scotland and Wales; local and national employers; customers; and training providers and other stakeholders at a district level.
The main aims of the research were to explore the successful elements of LEPs, to ascertain why employers had engaged with LEPs and what they had gained from doing so, to look at the impact of LEPs on partnership working and to determine which customers had benefited from taking part. The research also examined the introduction, implementation and organisation of LEPs at national, district and local levels.