A. Published Statistics
DWP statistics are freely available and can help providers or
funders to assess their progress with regard to a number of labour
market targets; indicating key trends for areas over time. The DWP
online statistical resource centre http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd has
at its core a tabulation tool for creating and refining queries http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/tabtool.asp
as well as a range of benefits-based statistics http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/statistics_a_to_z.asp
and local NOMIS reports https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/Default.asp.
DWP statistics provide longitudinal analysis, thereby indicating
those moving out or on to working age benefits over time. This data
is freely available (without need for data requests), covers all
types of benefit claimants and by definition the claimant
population (if not the local area client base), including
Incapacity Benefit and Job Seeker Allowance clients. It can be
extensively data mined in order to explore sub-categories and
trends, such as benefit type, location, disability, age and
Use of published statistics of this type will encourage questions
which may not be answered through these tools alone, such as What
impact are our providers having on these results or Which clients
are we dealing with directly? Reviewing this type of published data
on a periodic basis will provide much useful information and
insight but importantly it will also indicate where more specific
local information is needed.
There are a number of limitations in the use of this type of
- Data is anonymous and it is difficult to track individuals with
multiple barriers or issues.
- It is not possible to understand who is also engaging with
local providers and the relationship between this data and local
provision is uncertain.
- The data is some months out of date and therefore not as
accurate as other local sources.
- The data does not indicate where individuals moving from
working age benefit are going - are they moving out of working age
or into work?
- The tabulation tool (now under re-development 10/08) is not
easy to use and not intuitive.
Perhaps the biggest single barrier is in the time and expertise
needed to fully analyze the data. This data requires numerous
queries to build a picture of claimants within an area. This is a
time consuming task and needs expert input, despite the efforts of
some of the more accessible NOMIS reports.
Ultimately, this resource should not be overlooked but where
there are more questions than answers from the DWP statistics it is
important to look to other management information sources.