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supporting welfare to work providers

Initial assessments

Section image for Customer journey - man and woman following footprints on a journey

You need to establish a clear starting point to help your 50+ customers plan their journey. You need to do this before they can choose their direction for a return to work.

It is important to assess, as far as you can, all aspects of their employment, life experience and current situation before setting goals. Your organisation will have established a process for doing this. This may include initial screening followed by more in-depth focused assessments.

Initial assessment
When planning your initial assessment it may be helpful to consider these questions and how you will deal with them.

Initial assessment

What is the purpose and benefit of the assessment? Do these match up with the requirements this particular customer has of your service? Unnecessary assessment wastes your time and theirs. As a result, your customer may lose confidence in your service.

How will you deal with negative perceptions about being ‘tested’ or ‘assessed’? Your customer may have undergone many types of assessments during their lifetime or since they have been out of work. They may feel these are intimidating, intrusive or repetitive.

Is the individual capable of participating in the assessment exercise? You will need to address any potential barriers they may have (for example, psychological, physical, language or knowledge).

How will you take an approach that explores their strengths and challenges? You will need to consider:

  • current personal/home circumstances and ‘fit for work’ status
  • life path and saleable / transferable skills, knowledge and talent
  • barriers and challenges influencing a return to work
  • personal strengths, interests and successes
  • attitudes to and aspirations for the future
  • level of functional skills / life skills.

Life experience and current situation
Take into account the customer’s life experience and current situation as these could affect their suitability for certain occupations. If you don’t consider these fully, your 50+ customers may develop unrealistic expectations or set themselves unrealistic goals for employment. For example, someone with caring responsibilities may not be able to spend much time away from home or travel too far; they may need to work flexibly. These considerations will determine the options open to them.

1. Readiness for work
Customers have varying needs, depending on their attitudes and readiness for work. For example:

  • some customers are distant from work readiness (having the availability, skills and ability to work) and require considerable assistance
  • some are job ready and may need just a little help
  • some have a positive attitude to getting back to work
  • some are unwilling to re-engage with the labour market.

2. Current situations
These may include:

  • A brief period of unemployment with minimal personal problems. These customers may have firm job ideas but have experienced recent application failures. They may be confident and able to progress with minimal guidance but need to set some goals.
  • Recent redundancy and feeling ‘on the scrapheap’. These customers may be worried about the future, unsure of possible skills gaps, local labour market opportunities and current recruitment practice.
  • Long term unemployment with multiple barriers. These customers may have negative experiences of other services and feel intimidated by or sceptical of the support on offer.
  • Long term unemployment following health issues. They may be detached from the labour market, lack confidence and worry how work will affect their condition or recovery.
  • A period out of the labour market but not officially ‘unemployed’ for a variety of reasons such as caring responsibilities or early retirement.

You may find this example of a provider’s customer record form of interest. It includes a section on engagement and initial screening and assessment.

This site is for help and information only. It is not meant as an authoritative guide. It is not meant as an authoritative statement of the law, and future changes in the law and other programmes and initiatives could make it less accurate at times. TAEN, the Department for Work and Pensions and the European Social Fund take no responsibility for your use of the information. You should always take professional advice on any specific legal or financial matter.