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
- Considine, M,, Lewis, J.M. and O’Sullivan, S. 2009, Activating States: transforming the delivery of ‘welfare to work’ services in Australia, the UK and the Netherlands – UK report back to Industry Partners (325kb pdf), The University of Melbourne
- Considine, M,, Lewis, J.M. and O’Sullivan, S. 2008, Activating States: transforming the delivery of ‘welfare to work’ services in Australia, the UK and the Netherlands – Australian report back to Industry Partners (330kb pdf), The University of Melbourne
- Considine, M. and Lewis, J.M. 2010, “Front-line work in employment services after ten years of New Public Management reform: Governance and activation in Australia, the Netherlands and the UK,” in European Journal of Social Security, 12(4), pp. 357-370
- Considine, M., Lewis, J. M., and O’Sullivan, S. 2009, “Activating States: transforming the delivery of ‘welfare-to-work’ services in Australia, the UK and the Netherlands,” in Working Brief (Journal of the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion), May, pp. 16-18