twitter   facebook   facebook
← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Pathways to Work

Country of implementation
United Kingdom
General short description of the innovation
Pathways to Work was a programme for people claiming Incapacity Benefit or Income Support on health grounds, or Employment and Support Allowance from October 2008. With the national implementation, a provider-led model was introduced that replaced the Jobcentre Plus as the main provider of ESA-related services. The programme included six obligatory work focused interviews with a personal adviser (within the first 12 months of a claim). An action plan was agreed and reviewed at each meeting. Non-compliance with the mandatory parts of the programme led to benefit sanctions. Participants still had access to other Jobcentre Plus support ? such as New Deal for Disabled People ? plus some extra optional support developed specially for Pathways to Work. / / Options in the Choice package of the programme included voluntary employment support; the opportunity to manage one?s disability or health condition to secure a return to work through the Condition Management Programme; a Return to Work Credit which, subject to eligibility criteria, gave claimants an extra 40 per week for the first 12 months of employment; a discretionary Job Preparation Payment; Work-based Learning for Adults (England) or Training for Work (Scotland) or Skills Build Wales (Wales); Work preparation; Work Trials and WORKSTEP. / / In October 2010, the Coalition Government introduced the Work Choice programme to provide specialised support for disabled people with more intensive needs that cannot be supported by mainstream employment. The scheme replaced WORKSTEP, Work Preparation. The Job Introduction Scheme was not replaced but simply stopped. Pathways to Work ended in 2011, following the introduction of the Work Programme. The Return to Work Credit stopped in October 2013.
Target group
Policy Field
  • employment
  • social
Type of Policy
  • public
  • public-private partnership
  • publicly mandated to non-state organisation
Duration of the policy
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: structural
  • Spatial coverage: national
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
In addition to classical back-to-work support the policy could be combines with Jobcentre Plus schemes including: / / Return to work credit was a payment of 40 a week for up to 12 months. IB, IS and ESA claimants were eligible when going back to work after a period of illness or health condition. To qualify claimants had to work at least 16 hours a week in a job that is expected to last for more than five weeks. Return to work credit is a non-taxable payment and does not count as income for the purposes of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit. Beneficiaries were able to claim Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit at the same time. The policy stopped in October 2013. People who got return to work credit before October 2013 will continue to be paid until they are no longer eligible or have received their full 52 weeks of payments. / / Condition Management Programmes (CMPs) were established as an innovative intervention designed to help people understand and manage health conditions in preparation for returning to work. In Jobcentre Plus areas they were usually run jointly with the National Health Service (NHS). / / Work Choice (since 2010) is a voluntary element of the ?Work Programme? to either help disabled to enter the labour market or to keep them in employment where their job is at risk due to the disability. The programme is delivered by various providers and employers can claim a wage incentive if they offer a job lasting 26 weeks to an 18 to 24 year old disabled person participating in Work Choice. The scheme replaced WORKSTEP and Work Preparation. The Job Introduction Scheme was not replaced but simply stopped at national level. / / Access to Work offers grants towards any additional costs in the workplace that you might have because of your impairment. It can pay towards equipment, human support or extra travel costs that will help you to find or stay in work. This aims to support recruitment and retention of disabled people by helping with substantial costs of adaptations. Help will be approved for as long as it is required up to a maximum of three years. / / WORKSTEP provided individual support to people with disabilities and employers in developing and improving employment skills. It offered a variety of job opportunities with a wide range of organisations. The Jobcentre run WORKSTEP in partnership with local authorities, training providers and voluntary bodies. / / Work preparation aimed to help people with a disability go back to work after a long period of sickness or unemployment. It was an individually-tailored programme to help find suitable work, provide work experience opportunities, improve skills and build up confidence. The programme usually lasted six weeks but could be extended to 13 weeks or more. After this, participants were able to go into further education, training or work, depending on their individual situation. This option could be joined locally, either at a Pathways to Work programme provider or with a local employer. / / Job Introduction Scheme was to give people with disabilities and employers time to adjust, to see what the employee?s capabilities are in the job and help decide about further processes. The programme helped pay towards the person?s wages or other employment costs during the first few weeks of employment.
Type of ideal-typical strategy for the innovation
  • liberalisation
Type of innovation
  • new form of partnership or cooperation
  • new policy, practice or measure
New outputs
  • benefit duration
  • benefit eligibility
  • services
  • subsidies/tax-credits
Intended target group
Disabled people
Working age population
  • employment situation (unemployed)
  • main source of income: social protection (disability benefits)
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • agency or national social insurance body (Jobcentre Plus)
  • central state (DWP)
  • private for-profit organisations (commercial)
  • private not-for-profit organisations (e.g. Third Sector organisation or NGO)
Intended output
  • benefit duration
  • benefit eligibility
  • lifelong learning
  • services
  • subsidies/tax-credits
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
Early research found that participation in Pathways significantly increased the probability of claimants being employed about a year and a half after the initial incapacity benefits enquiry by 7.4 percentage points (Bewley et al. 2007). Pathways was also found to have a positive impact on earned income. Average net monthly earnings across all individuals were found to have increased (Adam et al. 2006). However, later DWP statistics showed that the job entry rate for Pathways has been below the 27% level expected at the tendering stage and that the programme had failed to meet its targeted objectives (NAO 2010). DWP research also highlighted problems with the administration of the programme, with the payment model adopted (Hudson et al. 2010) and that the overall net impacts of provider-led Pathways appeared to be comparable in scale to those found for pre-existing Jobcentre Plus Pathways (Knight et al. 2013). / / References: / - Adam, S., Emerson, C., Frayne C. and Goodman, A. (2006). Early quantitative evidence on the impact of the Pathways to Work pilots, DWP Research Report No 354, London. / - Bewley, H., Dorsett, R. and Haile, G. (2007). The impact of Pathways to Work, DWP Research Report No. 435, London. / - Dorsett, R (2008). Pathways to Work for new and repeat incapacity benefits claimants: Evaluation synthesis report, DWP Research report No. 525. / - Hudson, M., Phillips, J., Ray, K., Vegeris, S. and Davidson, R. (2010). The influence of outcome-based contracting on provider-led Pathways to Work, DWP Research Report No. 638, London. / - Knight, G., Salis, S., Francavilla, F., Radu, D., Hevenstone, D., Mocca E. and Tousley, B. (2013). Provider-led Pathways to Work. Net impacts on employment and benefits, DWP Research Report No. 113, London. / - National Audit Office (NAO) (2010). Support to incapacity benefits claimants through Pathways to Work, DWP report, London.
Share this page: