Department for Work and Pensions

Central Government Customer



The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is the largest government department in the United Kingdom, and is responsible for welfare and pension policy.

SDA Solution for DWP

The Job Retention and Rehabilitation Pilot (JRRP) was a high profile, high risk, joint project between DWP and DH that was funded by HM Treasury.

DWP was the lead Department for delivering and evaluating the pilot. The pilot ran for two years from April 2003 to March 2005 in six parts of the country. The evaluation reported in March 2006. The pilot was the first voluntary labour market initiative to be set up as a randomised control trial. It was a complex trial which aimed to test the impact of three interventions designed to help people off work sick to return to work.

Early on in the trial it became evident that there were fundamental problems with each of the organisations’ IT systems, the causes of which could not be easily identified or rectified.

Initially SDA were contracted to identify the extent and severity of the problems with both types of systems and to devise a comprehensive list of solutions for each which could be actioned by each organisation’s IT staff.

The contract was subsequently varied to enable SDA to take ownership of the call centre system so that it could be run remotely; devise a new central database for the evaluation and temporarily house the service provider’s paper records at the end of trial to facilitate clerical checks by the evaluation team. To meet these requirements SDA were required to manage relations between a number of providers and different parts of DWP and to quality assure the data from each of the providers.

In summary, SDA provided critical IT input to JRRP and safeguarded the production of a robust evaluation database which was a critical component of the overall evaluation

Customer Feedback

From the outset SDA ensured that they fully understood the Department’s brief by asking pertinent questions about the aims and objectives of JRRP and the evaluation. The way in which SDA got to grips with this complex trial so quickly enabled them to provide invaluable advice to DWP about how best to resolve the IT systems.

SDA were flexible throughout the contract. The extent of the IT problems were more far ranging than the Department had imagined. SDA did an excellent job in identifying the full extent of the problems and suggesting creative options about what needed to be done to sort them out. The Department’s requirements changed significantly beyond the initial requirements and SDA readily accommodated these changes.

SDA displayed some excellent communication skills in the way in which they explained technical problems and solutions to non IT experts in the Department and the providers alike. Surprisingly some of the provider’s IT staff were not particularly IT proficient and SDA demonstrated a professional approach in explaining what they were required to do and checking that actions had been properly carried out.

Throughout the duration of their contract with DWP SDA displayed incredible resolve in the face of a number of challenges. One of the biggest challenges SDA encountered was working with such a range of players and an unusually high number of extremely difficult individuals on a single project. SDA demonstrated a stalwart ability to work together in partnership with stakeholders to achieve results.

DWP’s experience of SDA was as a rigorous, reliable and innovative contractor whom we would have no hesitation in working with again.

Jane Barrett
Principal Research Officer
The Department for Work and Pensions
June 2006

JRRP Research Reports

These two DWP research reports provide further information about JRRP.

The Job Retention and Rehabilitation Pilot: reflections on running a randomised controlled trial
Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No 305
Nina Stratford, Rebecca Taylor, Robin Legard, Lucy Natarajan, Susan Purdon and Andrew Shaw
View Research Report 305

Impacts of the Job Retention and Rehabilitation Pilot
Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No 342
Susan Purdon, Nina Stratford, Rebecca Taylor, Lucy Natarajan, Stephen Bell and David Wittenburg
View Research Report 342

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