12: Worcestershire, UK – Total Place Pilot
The Worcestershire Total Place project aimed to reduce the number of young people (16 to 24 years old) NEET, which stood at 9 per cent in 2010.69 With at least 24 separate local organisations and agencies linked to the agenda, the first step was to establish contact and develop relationships between them to begin providing a more efficient and integrated service. It was estimated that the annual expenditure involved with tackling NEETs exceeded £8 million; with £400,000 spent on administration.70
The project team engaged with young people, local agencies, DfE and DWP to develop a new, more integrated approach. It found that young people were confused by the system of support offered to them and needed better information about what is on offer and why it is worth their while to engage. It also found that payment by outputs rather than outcomes had some negative results. For example, young people were being sent on courses/training at the same level they had previously completed, as it provided training providers with ongoing income.
The pilot proposed establishing a single commissioning process, sharing data between agencies (including DWP) and the introduction of longer term planning with young people when they first become NEET. It also encouraged local employers to raise aspirations through introducing mentoring and business learning schemes into schools and colleges.
It was estimated that having a single integrated service would reduce the numbers of NEET young people and lead to savings of around £2.5 million a year. This includes administrative cost savings, as well a fall in unemployment support costs.