Helping local residents to secure and sustain good work

FutureGov and Notbinary - Good Work Camden

Challenge

Camden Council’s 2025 vision is that jobs will pay people what they need to earn to live and businesses will provide jobs flexible for modern lives. Camden borough has over eleven thousand council tenant households not in work, meanwhile, there are growing numbers of people in work who are struggling to meet their outgoings.

The Council wanted to leverage the rich assets in their borough to widen the impact of the work of their partners and local support services. FutureGov was invited to take the lead in preparing the borough to grow a support system of services that can help residents in their job search.

Approach

The Good Work Camden project took a whole system view to improving employment outcomes, working across the entire employment landscape from support providers to employers. A human-centred approach throughout ensured the Camden job market is inclusive and accessible for all.

  • Neighbourhood focused: Camden wanted to extend their employment support via a neighbourhood approach that was bespoke to local people and the lives they lead. We developed a neighbourhood hub, building neighbourhood profiles, integrating assets, and ensuring the service serves long term resident needs.
  • Strategic collaboration: Residents often found it hard to know where to go for employment support. We built on existing collaboration and joint working amongst providers in the Employment and Skills Network (ESN), running ESN workshops, reshaping the existing ESN format and prioritising opportunity areas.
  • Digital platform: Before Good Work Camden, there wasn’t one centralised place for employment support. We ran a provider workshop and three rounds of resident interviews and test sessions to understand what information people need, and how different digital solutions could help.
  • Inclusive business: Residents on employment support lacked a clear and consistent path to move into good work. Inclusive job opportunities were not readily available, and poor employment practices meant that people in low-paid roles couldn’t progress. We ran a literature review into interventions and ‘good work’ practices, and conducted research via workshops and employer interviews to refine the most promising interventions.
  • Earn and grow: As of September 2019, over five thousand households in Camden were in in-work poverty. The council wanted to design an intervention for residents for whom the ‘welfare and work relationship’ presented a fundamental challenge. Our work in this area was informed by policy, service design and data: we explored external examples of similar interventions for inspiration; used a test and learn approach by engaging with residents to understand their experience; and used data to understand users and prioritise our work.

Impact

During the first phase of the Good Work Camden project, we provided the Council with outcomes within each focus area, contributing to their vision of a human-centred approach to employment within the borough.

  • Extended the employment support available in Camden through the development of a neighbourhood hub and job hub.
  • Working with the Employment and Skills Network, we prioritised opportunity areas and built a clear pathway for residents receiving employment support.
  • Presented the Council with four recommendations around a digital platform. We advised that they conduct more testing with residents and providers to develop their ideas for a digital offer, its backend systems, and how it connects with offline services.
  • Identified further interventions for Camden to test and pilot. These included the provision of free technology devices to enable people to access the support they need; increasing access to employment opportunities and services through free transport; a discretionary social fund to support single parents with unexpected costs; and a support package for residents transitioning onto Universal Credit.