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Making Markets in Employment Support: Promises and Pitfalls in the Work Programme’s Private Power Market

Carter, Eleanor (2018) Making Markets in Employment Support: Promises and Pitfalls in the Work Programme’s Private Power Market. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Welfare-to-work services have been a key area of experimentation in quasi-marketised public service delivery. The British flagship Work Programme is seen as an international pioneer in its reliance on outsourcing, payment by results and provider flexibility allied to promises of innovation and performance improvement. Within schemes dominated by such marketised accountabilities there are well-known risks and tensions around creaming, parking and churning. International literature equally makes clear that the design specificities of programme governance and accountabilities can play a key role in either facilitating or buttressing against these negative provider practices. In this context, the overarching question which animates this thesis is whether this crafted Work Programme design structure is sufficient and appropriate to steer its quasi-marketised providers to the achievement of the full suite of government policy objectives. Unprecedented academic access to the commissioning Department’s administrative datasets alongside sophisticated and conceptually tailored multivariate quantitative analyses underpin the thesis’ empirical contributions. The analysis is framed by an original multi-dimensional analytical framework articulating multiple potential alternative types of quasi-markets. This conceptually broad and empirically focused study provides a rare opportunity to trace outcomes directly from the plans and promises of a particularly bold quasi-market experiment and to consider the ways in which key design elements cascade through to, and are detectable in, the patterning of employment and earning outcomes of programme participants on the ground. The empirical analyses highlight myriad ways in which Work Programme promises end up in performance pitfalls despite, if not because of, its particular variety of quasi- marketised governance.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Geography (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.784686
Depositing User: Eleanor Carter
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2019 10:39
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 20:08
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24704

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