27 April 2006
Getting people into the right job, at the right time, right from the start
Comprehensive employment help will be available to all Work and Income clients regardless of their benefit type under a
new case management approach launched today by Social Development and Employment Minister David Benson-Pope.
Mr Benson-Pope says the Government is committed to a modern responsive social support system that actively encourages
people into work, while ensuring that those who can't work receive appropriate financial and social support. By 2007
Working for Families will be delivering $1.6 billion of tax relief and social assistance to around 350,000 families each
year, ensuring that people are better off in work.
He says today's announcement builds on this by reshaping Work and Income services to provide comprehensive employment
help to all clients regardless of their benefit category, so more New Zealanders are able to take advantage of the
rewards offered by employment.
“All New Zealanders should have the opportunity to have quality jobs that contribute to New Zealand's economic growth
and that provide stability and security for themselves and their families. Our on-going reform of the welfare system is
actively supporting more people into work," said Mr Benson-Pope.
"Under Labour 117,000 fewer people are reliant on a benefit today than when we took office, a drop in the number of
beneficiaries of nearly 30 percent. These results have been achieved by opening up real opportunities – not by
impoverishing beneficiaries or placing them in make work schemes.
“From May 2006, all new Work and Income clients will be case managed differently to improve the focus on getting people
into the right job at the right time, right from the start. The starting point will be what a person can do rather than
what benefit they are entitled to.
“While there will always be a group of people for whom work is not an option, most people on benefit want to, and with
the right support, are able to work. Reshaping Work and Income services to recognise and encourage this will help more
people into work,” said Mr Benson-Pope.
"The pilots we ran showed that up to 20 percent of clients who get a non-unemployment related benefit (Domestic
Purposes, Sickness or Invalid's Benefit) were identified as being able to work now, be it part time or full time. This
showed that offering employment services primarily to unemployment benefit clients was missing a group of other clients
willing and able to work, who would benefit from greater access to employment services," said Mr Benson-Pope.
Mr Benson-Pope says policy work continues on reforming the social support system to replace the seven main benefits with
a simplified benefit system. The details of the new and simplified benefit structure, including its name, will be the
subject of Cabinet decisions later in the year. Legislation was likely to be introduced by the end of this year, with
the remaining elements being introduced in 2007.
Fact Sheet: New Case Management Approach
The new service approach focuses on the client and builds services around the employment outcome they can achieve.
Work and Income has been trialling the new service approach in 12 selected sites and two contact centres since May last
Early findings indicated that the prototype service model worked well. More than 90 percent of people voluntarily
took-up the service.
Up to 20 percent of clients who would get a non-Unemployment Benefit are being identified as able to work now, be it
part time or full time.
Work and Income's new service will include:
- A pre-assessment of a person's circumstance, needs and work readiness
- WRK4U seminars that provide jobseekers with information on local labour market conditions, vacancies, employment
services and income support entitlements and responsibilities
- Information, planning and preparation seminars for people who want to work but are unable to do so immediately because
of constraints like caring responsibilities or illness
- Access to work brokers who link jobseekers with employers through jobz4u profiles
- Better and earlier access to employment programmes including job subsidies and training
Unemployment Benefit clients already have access to many of these services and measurable change on employment outcomes
has already occurred.
The major impact of the new approach will be for Domestic Purposes, Sickness and Invalid’s Benefit clients. For the
first time they’ll have:
- employment as an option from initial contact
- access to information and the ability to apply for local job opportunities through Work and Income
- support in preparing to return to work if not able to return to work immediately
- access to employment services that will enhance their ability to obtain a job where it is clear that the client is at
significant risk of not obtaining work without assistance.
It is expected that the new approach will result in Domestic Purposes, Sickness and Invalid’s Benefit clients having:
- shorter duration on a benefit before moving into full-time work
- increased earnings and participation in part-time work while on income support
The roll out of Work and Income's new case management approach will be across all 142 service centres and five contact
Initially the new service will be offered only to new clients, with existing clients becoming involved from September