Social security in a changing labour market (III): big challenges, big opportunities

17 November 2016

This paper begins re-imagining the UK’s approach to Health, Disability and Work. Work is a crucial element of this equation as according to the Chief Executive of Public Health England, Duncan Selbie, health, wellbeing and happiness are “inextricably linked”.

The paper has a huge scope and ambition and feels more like three Green Papers than one. To simplify matters, KPMG is focusing on the Health, Disability and Work space in the following three areas:

  • Integration;
  • Personalisation; and
  • Innovation

Integration: Greater integration of local and national services

Internationally we have seen the benefits of integrating services and service delivery across departments and agencies to create local place-based solutions and services.

Place-based planning must drive the way public services are delivered.  They cover health, benefit and care services to the citizen; employment placement, training and reskilling alongside employer services to allow access to work and reduce barriers and perceived barriers to employing people with health conditions.

There is much to do and given the relatively recent integration of health and social care there is a further challenge with the greater integration, but in our view this is crucial to success.

Personalisation: Developing an understanding what works

The interaction between the employer and the employee or applicant with a health condition or disability can be fiendishly difficult, with a further problem of determining what works, and what the next best action is.

We have been working hard on understanding customer journeys and customer segmentation in this context.  Building on work with corporates on customer strategy and experience, and applying the tools and techniques of decision science, we can determine the information to support the decisions which underpin the service’s delivery.  We can then test the efficiency and effectiveness of specific ‘pathways’ for cohorts of citizens.

Innovating: Scaling up to meet the challenge

In the Green Paper there is a commitment to provide a new Personal Support Package via Jobcentre Plus.  There is great opportunity to provide the right advice to citizens, employers and Work Coaches on what does and does not work, specific to an individual’s barriers. This will be delivered in an empathic and personal way, and where advice and guidance is regularly refreshed and improved.

Building an approach that can test and learn from innovations and that can train and share insights across the tens of thousands of Coaches and millions of citizens is a huge challenge. At KPMG we see there is a real benefit from new approaches to robotic process automation and artificial intelligence, augmenting the new digital skills workforce.

The unknowns

There are many more areas to discuss and debate. A few to think about are:

  • Metrics.  What are the right measures to drive a focus on help to those with significant barriers to employment?
  • Impact of Brexit as the UK labour market will change as a result.
  • Harnessing consumer views and attitudes to employing staff with health conditions being beneficial for business and society.

Iain Gravestock, Head of Human Services, KPMG

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