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. Although unemployment has been decreasing, 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.
Camden is passionate about supporting residents, so citizens are in good work now and in the future. Camden 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.
The Good Work Camden project took a whole system view when considering improving employment outcomes across Camden by thinking about supporting people into good work, and ensuring they can remain in good work. This was achieved by working across the employment landscape and establishing local jobs hubs, working with employment support providers and employers. These aimed to take a human-centred approach and ensure the Camden job market is inclusive and accessible for all.
It was difficult for residents to know where to access support. Referral routes were unclear and residents wanted support to be easier to access and provided locally.
Camden wanted to extend their employment support via a neighbourhood approach by providing support around people in the place they live, with support that's bespoke to the lives they lead. To prepare Camden for this new approach and the development of a neighbourhood hub we focused on the following areas:
- consolidating what we know to build a neighbourhood profile
- research to develop the neighbourhood profile
- making connections and responding to individual needs
- extending reach to where the residents are looking for help
- developing pathways and ensuring the service can respond to long term resident needs
- integrating assets to develop the neighbourhood hub
- reflective learning to improve the service
- identifying the right outcomes and demonstrating that the service is responding to resident needs
- influencing change and bring about wider systemic change
- scaling up
Residents often found it hard to know where to go for employment support. Those who faced significant barriers to work, or were further from the labour market, were not always supported.
In a blended team, we built on existing collaboration and joint working amongst providers in the Employment and Skills Network (ESN). We wanted to ensure provision is reaching those who most need it, so Camden can offer residents a more coherent experience. We ran two ESN workshops, reshaped the existing ESN format and prioritised opportunity areas.
With the network, we also explored the question: how will we understand if we are on the right track? ESN members selected indicators for how they’ll measure if the network is on the right track. These ranged from the number and quality of relationships with employers to the number of residents in sustained employment in good work.