In our 2018 Welfare trends report, Chapter 3 looked at the design of universal credit, including the role to be played by UC work coaches setting conditions and applying sanctions to encourage claimants to seek and progress in work. This box outlined the role, responsibilities and renumeration of work coaches, as set out in DWP's candidate information pack for applicants for the role.

This box is based on DWP data from 2017 .

Each of the 13,000 work coaches required when UC is fully rolled out is expected to carry out a wide-ranging set of activities for both in- and out-of-work cases. According to DWP’s ‘candidate information pack’ explaining the role to prospective job applicants, these activities include:a

  • hav[ing] an assigned caseload of UC, JSA, ESA and IS claimants for whom they will be responsible, providing consistency and continuity of service”;
  • supporting UC customers to make the most of their work and earnings potential and become financially independent”;
  • proactively develop[ing] in-depth knowledge of the local labour market and provision”;
  • coach[ing] others to use digital job search methods i.e. job search websites, email, uploading documents, social media”;
  • be accountable for the decisions made during interviews with claimants to help move them back into sustained employment or prepare for work”; and
  • a few roles involve home visits e.g. to help customers make applications for benefit or to obtain information”.

In carrying out these activities, the work coaches will need to:

  • coach claimants to take responsibility for getting themselves into work, sustaining work and developing their career”;
  • deliver a personalised service to claimants, identifying challenges to support them back into work within the guidance framework provided”;
  • be responsible for identifying the range of provision available and referring claimants appropriately to relevant supportive provision”;
  • coach claimants to develop the skills they need to look for and obtain sustained employment, or, for some claimants, move them closer to work”;
  • review the claimants work plan or other documentation to confirm the claimant is available and actively seeking employment”; and
  • identify conditionality doubts; taking appropriate and timely action”.

At the same time, work coaches will be “required to undertake a work based apprenticeship undertaken in work time”.

Work coach positions have been advertised at salaries of between £24,000 and £26,000 a year.

Self-employed claimants will be served by ‘enhanced capability work coaches’ who will receive special training in order to carry out all the same activities but in respect of the viability of self-employed businesses.

This box was originally published in Welfare trends report – January 2018

aCandidate information pack, Work Coach roles in Work Services Directorate, DWP, 2017.