Following Birmingham's award winning DWP/LGA Local Authority Led Universal Credit Pilot, an idea emerged from Birmingham City Council's Landlord Services when letting properties to new tenants. As part of the triage process, the team would identify and make referrals for support needs using a paper based system. As a result of the good practice identified by this approach Digital Birmingham were invited by the Department for Work and Pensions to deliver a European Social Fund (ESF) project to convert the paper based system being used in the pilot to an online system aimed at contributing to the development of Universal Support Delivered Locally in the city.
Birmingham City Council, the Gateway to Birmingham Advice Services (GBAS), West Midlands Fire Service, Citysave, DWP Employment Outreach combined expertise and resources using the European Social Fund to deliver the Service Directory Referral System (SDRS) project marketed as '
My Work Journey'.
The key aims of the project were to:
- Deliver and develop a personalised portal for up to 5000 unemployed citizens together with service directory and referral system (owned by GBAS) that could be utilised by front line staff to refer clients to get additional help and support to support at least 750 clients achieve and outcome of work, training, apprenticeships, volunteering and/or business start-ups.
- Create a work journey assessment process using the Gateways of Influence Model to influence and change behaviour of individuals in order to help them get back into employment.
- Enable 100 staff to complete the Digital Unite Quick Starter Programme to assist citizens improve their digital literacy and 5 additional staff to complete an additional Digital Champion IT Qualification (16 modules) that would enable them to train front line staff on using digital technologies to the support citizens use digital services.
Databuild Research and Solutions are independent research and evaluation consultancy based in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, were commissioned in June 2015 to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the 'My Work Journey' project. The interim evaluation report includes an action plan with the overall aim of identifying ways to change both partner and client behaviours, attitudes, and to reduce future demand on non-traditional gateways for citizens to access support upon entering and remaining in the workplace.
The final report was published in September 2015.