Street-level practice, personalisation and co-production in employability : insights from local services with lone parents

Lindsay, Colin and Pearson, Sarah and Batty, Elaine and Cullen, Anne Marie and Eadson, Will (2019) Street-level practice, personalisation and co-production in employability : insights from local services with lone parents. Social Policy and Society, 18 (4). pp. 647-658. ISSN 1474-7464

[img]
Preview
Text (Lindsay-etal-SPS-2019-Street-level-practice-personalisation-and-co-production)
Lindsay_etal_SPS_2019_Street_level_practice_personalisation_and_co_production.pdf
Accepted Author Manuscript

Download (546kB)| Preview

    Abstract

    Policymakers in the UK have promised to deliver personalised employability services for vulnerable jobseekers. However, unemployed people often describe their engagement with state-funded services as defined by: the offer of low cost, standardised job search services; and pressure to accept any job, irrespective of quality or appropriateness. This article argues that more progressive, co-produced alternatives are possible. We draw on an evaluation of local, third sector-led services targeting lone parents (LPs) in five local government areas in Scotland. Our research involved more than 100 in-depth interviews with both service providers and LPs. We find that partnership-oriented co-governance mechanisms facilitated collaborative approaches to the management of services and processes of co-production. LPs expressed positive views of the personalised services that were co-produced. We conclude that a commitment to collaboration and co-production may be more effective in promoting personalised services that are responsive to the needs of vulnerable groups.