Collaborating with business to help the unemployed

April 2010

Research on how 'Section 106' planning agreements can help the long-term unemployed has resulted in a new methodology to evaluate employment initiatives.

Notice boardWhile many training schemes already exist for the unemployed, previous studies have shown that workless people often have problematic experiences of jobs and finding employment. Research by Professor Alison Fuller and Dr Sadaf Rizvi at the ESRC-funded Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economics and Societies (LLAKES) has provided fresh insight into how local authorities can use Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act to help long-term unemployed.

Section 106 agreements are usually private agreements negotiated between local planning authorities and developers, with the aim of enabling development which would otherwise be unachievable. The Southampton City Council granted permission for the development of a new store, on condition that the company guaranteed interviews to jobseekers who had completed a special pre-employment training course. A 'provider network' including the retailer, the council, the local Jobcentre Plus and the Learning and Skills Council proved successful in delivering the initiative.

Professor Fuller and Dr Rizvi evaluated the innovative use of Section 106 agreements and analysed the scheme features which made it a success, to provide other councils an example of best practice. The research shows that provider networks are crucial for the success of pre-employment training agreements, and demonstrates the link between pre-employment initiatives and the success of the unemployed in securing jobs.

Impact

  • Collaborating with the Southampton City Council, LLAKES researchers examined the effect of Section 106 agreements on employment opportunities
  • The findings will be used to make suggestions for how this type of provision might be improved for the benefit of participants in the future. The researchers are now using the methodology to evaluate the success of initiatives in Manchester and Birmingham.

Further information