Centralisation of Return to Work Credit

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					                     Centralisation of Return to Work Credit
                          Equality Impact Assessment
                               North East Region

Below is the local Diversity Impact Assessment (DIA) for Centralisation of
Return to Work Credit in North East Region.

This has been formulated using the national DIA and local comments added
as required.

Stage 1: Screening

Q1. Have you identified the aims of the proposed change?


The welfare reform Green Paper, A new deal for welfare: empowering people
to work, published in January 2006, outlined a fundamental reform of the
welfare system and proposed a wide range of measures to:
              create a climate of proactive support to assist customers back to
              promote a positive customer experience; and
              remove some of the complexities around benefit administration.

Central to the welfare reform agenda is to build on the success of the
Pathways to Work service by rolling it out nationally by April 2008, future
provision being delivered primarily through the private and voluntary sectors.

Pathways to Work is aimed at those in receipt of incapacity benefits and
combines a balanced package of rights and responsibilities, which aims to
target a number of the health-related, personal and external barriers a
customer may have to overcome in order to return to work. It is an important
contributor to the Government’s objectives to:
              Help a million people move off IB1 over 10 years;
              Reduce the gap between the percentage of disabled and non-
               disabled people in work;
              Halve the number of children in relative low-income households
               between 1998-99 and 2010-11, on the way to eradicating child
               poverty by 2020; and
              an employment rate equivalent to 80% of the working-age

 NB for the purpose of this document incapacity benefit will be referred to as IB and will include both incapacity
benefit, SDA and income support claimed for incapacity but not Disability Living Allowance or Attendance
It is also the foundation for the introduction of Employment and Support
Allowance (ESA) that will replace IB for new customers in 2008.
National Pathways to Work coverage network is planned to be achieved by
April 2008 by the introduction of Provider-led Pathways. This will operate in 15
additional Districts by December 2007 and in 16 remaining Districts in April

In addition each Region will centralise into one Return To Work Credit
payments team to administer and pay all Return to Work Credit payments to
customers. In the North East Region this team will be based in Pennine
House Washington Tyne and Wear.

The Return to Work Credit Team will

      Centralise the administration and payment of all claims to Return to
       Work Credit generating from customers in existing Jobcentre Plus lead
       Pathways by April 2008.

1. What is the purpose of the change;

To provide a centralised team which will

      Standardise the service provided;

      Improve the customers experience;

      Be more efficient and cost effective.

2. Who will benefit from it;

All customers making a claim the Return to Work Credit in the North East.

3. How will they benefit from it;

      Consistency of standards for all customers in region;

      Timely payments for customers eg. £40 a week tax–free during the first
       year at work for customers who work full-time and earn £15,000 or less
       a year made via RM system.

4. How will the change benefit the wider business of the organisation;

A direct benefit of the rollout of Pathways to Work nationally is the significant
contribution to the aspiration of reducing the number of customers claiming
benefit on the grounds of incapacity by one million over the next 10 years up
to 2016/17, by moving people into sustained employment and helping achieve
the Government’s aims for an employment rate of 80%. Centralisation of
Return to Work Credit will ease the customer’s journey from reliance on
benefits to earned income. This will result in savings in benefit payments and
additional NI and tax revenue will be generated by more people moving into
work. Early indications are that total savings in IB will amount to circa
£2,454.98m from Annually Managed Expenditure, up to and including

The Pathways to Work project is an integral part of DWP wide welfare reform

Q2. What data on the diversity of both your customers and staff is
available to you?


As part of JCP Pathways a programme of ongoing evaluation/research has
been commissioned to measure the impact of Pathways to work on customers
As a result of this analysis there has been no evidence of any adverse impact
on customers – there were a total of 69,670 recorded job entries to end of
November 2007, of which 37,770 were from mandatory customer group and
7660 from voluntary customers.

The latest Pathways To Work performance summary can be found at

Centralisation of Return To Work Credit within existing Jobcentre Plus offices
will take place in a phased approach.

Phase 1 District in North East Region:

Phase 2 District in North East Region:
Tees Valley

Jobcentre Plus Staff

      Three teams already exist within North East Region administering this
       work for Northumbria, South Tyne and Wear Valley and Tees Valley
       Districts. South Tyne and Wear Valley have been resourced by national
       figures to operate with 1 Band C and 3 Band Bs.

      Staff will be recruited to the team by open and fair competition.
       Diversity and Equality legislation will be adhered to.

      Staff will be given the appropriate training for the administration and
       payment of Return to Work Credit.

Therefore any impacts on individual members of staff within Districts/Business
Units will be identified and managed at a local level.
Q3. Does collected data show that there may be a disproportionate or
adverse impact on either customers or staff?


There has been no evidence of any adverse impact on customers currently in
JCP Pathways To Work Areas as part of the ongoing research and evaluation
programme. The Return to Work Credit team already administer work for
South Tyne and Wear Valley and can absorb the increased work load without
discriminating unlawfully on the grounds of race, disability, gender, age,
sexual orientation or religious belief.

Our early evidence suggests that amongst those reporting just one health
problem, Pathways has a larger impact on those who did not have a mental
illness than on those who do. However, evidence is mixed, with qualitative
and administrative data suggesting some positive impacts on customers with
a mental health condition. It will be important for us to continue to monitor the
impact that Pathways may have on people with different impairments, and in
particular to try and disaggregate results for those with learning disabilities
from those with a mental health conditions

Jobcentre Plus Staff

The centralisation of Return to Work Credit is expected to have no adverse
impact on staff within Jobcentre Plus. The centralised team already has the
required skills to administer the increased work loads and recruitment of new
staff will be conducted in fair and open competition.


In view of the information available it is not thought that either customers or
staff in Jobcentre Plus Pathways will be unduly or adversely affected by this
change, or that the change could discriminate unlawfully on the grounds of
race, disability, gender, age, sexual orientation and religious belief.

It is concluded that a full impact assessment is not required in respect
of this change.

(If you have answered no to Q3 then you should now make arrangements for the
template to be published, if you have answered yes you need to continue to Stage 2)
Stage 2: Full Impact Assessment

Q4. Have you identified any gaps in your collected data?

Q5. Have you involved and consulted all relevant groups and staff that
will be directly affected by the change?

Q6. Does the evidence from your impact assessment show that the
change would adversely impact on the grounds of diversity equality?

Q7. How will you continue to monitor and evaluate the change in the

Janet Hawes
Change Manager for South Tyne and Wear Valley District

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