Evaluation of the 50+ Face-to-Face Guidance Pilot

Summary / Introduction: This report presents findings from a multi-method evaluation of the 50+ Face-to-Face Guidance Pilot (the Pilot), funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), whereby provider organisations delivered a guidance service to employees aged 50 and above. The service covered a range of work and retirement issues as well as directing clients to sources offering more detailed and/or more personalised information. Providers were based in five areas in England, Scotland and Wales and served rural, urban and inner-city locations. They included local branches of Age Concern Training, Shaw Trust, Life Academy, Guidance Services and Manpower. They varied in their backgrounds and organisational structure as well as in their modes of service delivery. Some providers focused predominantly on offering guidance through one-to-one meetings while others ran seminars. This variability was consistent with DWP’s interest in understanding the relative effectiveness of a range of service delivery models. The main period of operation for the Pilot was between January 2008 and December 2008. The Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) at Loughborough University evaluated the Pilot using qualitative and quantitative longitudinal methods. Research with providers included focus groups and face-to-face interviews with managers and advisers as well as observations of guidance sessions. Other elements involved face-to-face interviews with selected clients and a telephone survey of clients (both with a longitudinal component) and analysis of providers’ management information. Findings from the evaluation will inform DWP’s Extending Working Life (EWL) policies and communication strategies.