Welfare-to-work programmes in the UK and lessons for other countries




Zaidi, A. (2009). Welfare-to-Work Programmes in the UK and Lessons for Other Countries. Policy Brief 10/2009.


Welfare-to-work programmes have long been pursued in European countries, and the so-called Nordic model of the active labour market policies had served as a role model in the mid-1990s, offering policy learning to the rest of Europe. The UK had shown more interest in learning from the US workfare model than its European neighbours, and its policy de­sign and the experience of the past 10 years offer a number of insights for other countries. This policy brief summarises the New Deal programmes pursued in the UK since 1997/98 and draws some generic lessons for other countries. Important features of these New Deal programmes are the personalised employment services that are consistent with the needs of the groups in question, their combination with the tax credit policy and, last but not least, the learning obtained from the pilot programmes before rolling them out at the national level. The contracting-out of service delivery to the private and voluntary sector organizations is another important feature which potentially draws upon the expertise of a variety of local sources to engage with local client groups and meet their needs and, also, result in cost savings for the government. There are mixed views from the experience of other countries whether such involvement of the private and voluntary sector can result in efficiency gains cost savings or innovations in modes of service delivery.