Welfare reform hitting the poorest hardest

Welfare reform and labour markets

CRESR has a national reputation for undertaking research on labour markets in specific regional contexts among specific sub groups of the population and on labour market initiatives and welfare reform.

The centre is experienced at undertaking both large and small scale studies tailored to meet clients' needs. We use a range of methods to undertake process evaluations, impact analysis of labour market initiatives on outcomes, and the tracking of trajectories of local labour markets over time to assess the impact of welfare reform.

Key areas of expertise include:

  • conducting in-depth qualitative research with stakeholders, service providers and participants of job-activation schemes
  • designing, undertaking and analysing large scale surveys of workless individuals, households and benefit claimants
  • statistical analysis, benchmarking and spatial analysis of labour market trends, secondary and administrative data, benefits data and labour market outcomes
  • small area estimation of labour market accounting techniques and econometric analysis
  • profiling of labour markets in specific geographic areas
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Talent Match Evaluation and Learning Contract

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2013-2019

Talent Match is a Big Lottery Funding initiative of up to £100 million. It is investing resources in a number of areas in England where youth unemployment is a significant issue. BIG will invest for a period of up to five years to improve the lives of people aged 18-24 who have been out of education, employment or training for 12 months or more. The aims of the evaluation and learning contract are: to track the success of the programme and projects within it; to identify what works well, for whom and in what circumstances; and to share learning and improve practice.

Industrial Strategy and the Regions

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2017-2018

This project builds on prior work by CRESR into the government’s industrial strategy. CRESR has been commissioned to build on this work and develop proposals for the Labour Party. The research is covering three main areas: the instruments or industrial strategy and regional policy; the institutions required to deliver the policy; and a series of datasets on sub-national indicators.

Apprenticeship Levy and Youth Employment: an opportunity for social investment

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2017-2018

The Apprenticeship Levy came into effect in England in April 2017. It is intended to provide a substantial boost to skills development and to partly address the productivity gap. The government has also announced additional incentives (through Employers NI reductions) to encourage businesses to recruit groups who traditionally struggle to enter sustainable employment.

The combination of these policies potentially provides a social investment opportunity. This research project will explore the interest of employers in utilising government incentives in this area and the interest of third sector organisations in utilising social investment, with the overall goal to support young people find sustainable employment.

Sanctions, Support and Behaviour Change: Understanding the Role and Impact of Welfare Conditionality

Project Director: Professor Peter Dwyer (University of York) and Professor Del Roy Fletcher (Sheffield Hallam University)
Project Duration: 2013-2017

The use of conditional welfare arrangements that combine elements of sanction and support in order to influence the behaviour of welfare recipients has become an established component of welfare, housing, criminal justice and immigration policies. CRESR at Sheffield Hallam University, in collaboration with Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, Sheffield and York universities, has been awarded an ESRC large grant to conduct a major study on the efficacy and ethicality of conditional welfare policies. This five year project creates a collaborative, international and interdisciplinary focal point for social science research on welfare conditionality by establishing an original and comprehensive evidence base across a range of social policy fields and diverse groups of welfare service users.

The Contemporary Labour Market in Older Industrial Britain

Project Director: Professor Christina Beatty and Professor Steve Fothergill
Project Duration: 2016-2017

There is renewed political, policy and media concern about the ‘places left behind’. This has been prompted by the EU referendum in particular – less prosperous areas in England and Wales voted heavily for Brexit – but it also has deeper roots in the widespread perception that present-day prosperity is by-passing many places and communities.

Get in touch

For further information please contact Professor Del Roy Fletcher at d.r.fletcher@shu.ac.uk or call 0114 225 3487,
or Professor Christina Beatty at c.beatty@shu.ac.uk or call 0114 225 3539.

Key clients

British Destinations
Circle Housing Wherry
Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation
Community Links
Department for Work and Pensions
Financial Inclusion Services (Yorkshire)
Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF)
Jobcentre Plus
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Labour Party
Ministry of Justice
National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA)
National Housing Federation
Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action
Nottingham City and County Employment and Skills Board
Nottinghamshire County Council
Residential Landlords Association
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council
Small Business Service
Visit Wales
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