Welfare reform

Reform’s welfare work covers both working-age and pension-age welfare.

Reform’s previous research projects have included:

  • The right system of guidance to support pensions reform
  • Successful pensions reform in New Zealand
  • Welfare to Work. The Coalition’s flagship welfare to work initiative, the Work Programme, was implemented with unprecedented speed and much fanfare. Whilst it undoubtedly continued the trend of previous governments in contracting services from non-state delivery partners, it nonetheless represented a step change in programme scale and design. Reform is considering what lessons can be learnt from the design and roll out of the Work Programme, how performance can be improved and how it might inform the delivery of other public services.
  • Support for people with health conditions. The introduction of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) was intended to tackle the problem of millions of people parked on inactive benefits. Unfortunately the implementation of the WCA has been plagued with problems, from the design and content of the assessment itself to its delivery on the ground. This has undermined the credibility of the reforms. However, with the roll out of Universal Credit (UC) there is an opportunity to review the role of sickness benefits. Reform will look at the design of the sickness element and what more can be done both to prevent people from flowing onto the benefit and help more people move off it into work.