Welfare-to-Work and the Responsiveness of Employment Provision to the Needs of Refugees Isabel Shutes

Introduction

Improving the responsiveness of service providers to the needs of users has been a principal aim of welfare state reform. In the context of employment provision, this article explores the effects of a job outcome-oriented performance system on the responsiveness of providers to the needs of unemployed refugees. These effects concern, first, the type of refugees to whom providers are responsive and, second, the type of employment assistance provided. It is argued that an emphasis on short-term job outcomes may conflict with supporting refugees who are ‘harder to help’, particularly those with English language needs. It may also conflict with supporting refugees to access employment related to their skills and interests by encouraging providers to focus on placing refugees in ‘easy to access’, low-skilled and low-paid jobs. The effects may, therefore, serve to reproduce labour market inequalities experienced by refugees.

Shutes, I. (2011) ‘Welfare-to-Work and the Responsiveness of Employment Provision to the Needs of Refugees’, Journal of Social Policy, 40(3): 557-574