Activating States (2008-2012)

Using benchmark data collected in 1998, the Activating States project investigated whether and how the so-called ‘activation’ of welfare clients has changed the frontline delivery of welfare-to-work services.

Since the 1980s, the presentation and delivery of welfare-to-work services has been transformed by structural and ideological pressures, resulting in increasingly market-driven and target-oriented approaches to service provision. This project compared and contrasted approaches to welfare-to-work service delivery adopted by Australia, the UK and the Netherlands since 1998. During this period, each of these countries adopted policies aimed at ‘activating’ welfare recipients: empowering them to develop job-ready skills, and to lessen their dependence on welfare assistance. The delivery of these policies was typically outsourced to third-party agencies, a significant change from traditional methods of welfare-to-work program design.

This analysis has provided a means to assess the components of the new target and market-driven systems in Australia, the UK and the Netherlands, and to compare the different tools used by each state for managing both clients and frontline staff.

Publications associated with this project

Industry reports

Academic publications