This report contains findings from a quantitative evaluation of the effect of mandating the over-50s to participate in the Intensive Activity Period (IAP) phase of the New Deal 25 plus (ND25+). The results are based on a pilot study in 14 Jobcentre Plus districts.
IAP provides focused assistance such as training opportunities and work placements to people entering ND25+. Prior to the pilot study, participation had been voluntary for customers aged 50+, in contrast to younger customers, for whom IAP participation had always been mandatory.
Overall, customers experienced real gains from being mandated to participate in IAP. They were more likely to secure employment and this impact gradually increased over time. Mandated customers were also more likely to leave unemployment and while initially this was accompanied by a raised probability of transferring to other benefits such as Incapacity Benefit and Income Support, over the longer term this effect disappeared.
Mandatory IAP was more effective for some groups than others. The impact was greatest for men, customers aged 50-55, those previously employed in manual jobs, the low qualified, customers without a partner and among those who had not previously contributed to a pension scheme. To some extent, therefore, the more disadvantaged customers gained the most from compulsory participation in the programme. As customers age, however, their ability, or willingness, to take advantage of the training or work experiences on offer declines.