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07 August 2016 @ 10:59 pm
How the government experiments with your money, and doesn't achieve anything useful with it  
So, via the Yorkshire ranter, we find this:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/539336/rr928-summary-supervised-jobsearch-pilots-trial-evaluation.pdf

The Supervised Jobsearch Pilots (SJP) trial was
one of two trials of intensive job seeking skills
support designed to facilitate effective full-time
job-seeking. ... The intention of
the trial was to test whether supporting and
supervising job-search activity made claimants’
job search more effective, and increased
their likelihood of moving off benefit and into
work.


Okay, sound great, doesn't it? Only what is full time job searching? It doesn't say, and thanks to unclear grammar could mean spending 40hrs a week searching for work, or searching for full time work.

Anyway the result is clear- some of the people taking part found it ueful in improving their skills at job applications. And the statistics are pretty clear when you read closely that it's not that much help, let alone expensive to do:
The impact assessment shows that those in the
intervention group did spend less time on benefit
and more time in employment than the control
group. For the pre-Work Programme (pre-WP)
pilot, it is estimated that, per participant, SJP
led to an average of 10 (±11) fewer days spent
on DWP primary benefits and an average 5 (±9)
more days spent in employment. For the post-
Work Programme (post-WP) pilot, it is estimated
that participants have spent 19 (±11) fewer
days on DWP benefits and 6 (±7) more days in
employment. These figures are based on the
sum of the central estimates of the daily impacts,
measured from the point at which a difference
between the intervention and control group
emerges. We chose not to measure from when
the daily impacts were statistically significant
with a 95% degree of confidence as, in our
view, this would provide an unduly conservative
measure of the overall impact.
A cost-benefit analysis, using the standard DWP
framework, has been undertaken based on the
positive impacts summarised in the previous
paragraph. This shows that the return to the
Exchequer of reduced benefit expenditure
and increased tax returns are, by a significant
margin, insufficient to compensate for the
relatively large costs of running the programme.


Meanwhile out in the real world, marginally improving someone's ability at something merely means they are a bit more likely than the next unemployed person to actually get a job. If you applied it to all unemployed people, it's like adding an inch to everyone's height, the shape of the distribution of heights won't change. Plus ultimately, what controls unemployment is the availability of work itself. If there aren't jobs, you can't get one.

So basically this sort of trial is a waste of time, since it doesn't take into account the bigger picture and has no overall effect on the entire job searching system, and is of course also very expensive. But I bet someone made a decent bit of money out of it. You should note also the matter of forcing people to go onto it. Making someone do something on threat of starvation isn't a good way to do things.
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