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Street-level practice and the co-production of third sector-led employability services

Lindsay, Colin and Pearson, Sarah and Batty, Elaine and Cullen, Anne Marie and Easdon, Will (2018) Street-level practice and the co-production of third sector-led employability services. Policy and Politics, 46 (4). pp. 517-587. ISSN 0305-5736

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    Policymakers have promised a personalised approach to improving the employability of disadvantaged groups. The evidence suggests that contracted-out activation programmes in the UK and some other welfare states have instead sometimes delivered a standardised 'work-first' model. An alternative approach is exemplified in local employability services targeting lone parents in Scotland, led by third sector–public sector partnerships. Our research on these services suggests a link between programme governance (defined by flexible funding and collaborative partnership working) and effective street-level practice (where caseworkers and users co-produce services to empower parents). The article concludes by identifying lessons for the coproduction of future employability services.