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Street-Level Practice, Personalisation and Co-Production in Employability: Insights from Local Services with Lone Parents

  • Colin Lindsay (a1), Sarah Pearson (a2), Elaine Batty (a3), Anne Marie Cullen (a4) and Will Eadson (a5)...

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.

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