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Jobcentre Plus staff seeing more claimants with complex needs - Turn2us

News item about Department for Work and Pensions research into claimants with complex needsJobcentre Plus staff are seeing more claimants with complex needs, according to new Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) research, Working Age Claimants with Complex Needs: Qualitative Study (link opens in a new window PDF file size 115kb)

Reasons for this include:

  • Reassessment of incapacity benefit claimants following the introduction of employment and support allowance which led to participants encountering more people with mental health and cognitive conditions; physical disabilities and mobility conditions; and learning difficulties;
  • The current economic climate which participants felt that this had led to an increase in homeless people; claimants with debt problems; young people (18-24 year old) not in education, employment or training (NEETs); and people who had drug and/or alcohol addictions
  • Location specific issues which included cultural issues (e.g. itinerant groups); those for whom English is not a first language; and areas close to military bases where participants had seen an increase in ex-members of the armed forces who have complex needs.

Complex needs are defined as 'requiring the support of one or more specialist organisations (other than Jobcentre Plus) to move closer to the labour market'.

How DWP's services work for claimants of working age with complex needs

The study aimed to get a better understanding of how DWP's services work for claimants of working age who have complex needs.

Key findings include:

  • Advisers cite multiple reasons why an individual can be identified as having complex needs – they think that some needs have become more common over time.
  • Advisers think that claimants with complex needs can not be treated as a group – an individual’s need must be assessed on a case-by-case basis and tailored support provided accordingly.
  • While some claimants with complex needs are easily identifiable, many do not disclose readily, making them harder to help.
  • Advisers think that specialist advice and support is important – as is working closely with third sector and other public sector providers.
  • An effective adviser needs:
    • Skills in building trust and rapport with individuals, listening to their needs, probing and questioning to identify issues
    • Consistent case management processes in place to build up the trust of the individual
    • Flexibility in diary management; in the support they can offer and the conditions they apply – to allow timely and appropriate intervention
    • An environment where the individual feels able to disclose.

Source: Rightsnet (link opens in a new window)

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