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The responsiveness of employment service provision to the needs of refugees

Shutes, Isabel (2007) The responsiveness of employment service provision to the needs of refugees. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Greater 'responsiveness' to the needs of service users has been called for as a central policy aim. In the context of employment service provision, this includes responding to the needs of refugees, amongst whom there are high levels of unemployment (Department of Work and Pensions, 2005a, 2006). However, despite the policy rhetoric, there has been limited analysis of the concept and the factors that influence provider responsiveness to users' needs. While responsiveness has been conceived in terms of new lines of outwards accountability of providers to users, by directly responding to their needs and preferences (see Mulgan, 2000), there may be tensions between the performance systems in which providers operate and responsiveness in this respect. The thesis considers (1) refugees' experiences and perceptions of the responsiveness of the public employment service (Jobcentre Plus) and third sector providers of specialist services to their needs; and (2) these providers' experiences and perceptions of the factors influencing responsiveness to refugees' needs. The findings emphasise variation in the appropriateness of provision to refugees' English language needs, skills and interests. This is related to tensions between wider policy imperatives and organisational priorities in publicly-funded employment services; a performance system and incentive structure oriented towards short-term job outcomes; and directly responding to the needs of refugee clients. The thesis concludes by arguing that where upwards accountability to public funders and central government departments predominates in performance systems, the responsiveness of providers directly to refugees' needs is limited by these systems. In order to facilitate greater responsiveness to the employment-related needs of refugees, greater alignment between performance measures and refugees' needs is emphasised, as is the role of information to refugee users on service provision. In addition, means of facilitating the involvement of refugees in decision-making processes concerning the allocation of resources to address their needs are considered.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Public and Social Welfare
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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