Talk to Us Campaign

Exploring the impact of accessing support from the JobCentre Plus

Read more about it below

The brief

Middlesbrough Council wanted to explore the impact of residents accessing support from the JobCentre Plus (JCP).

Middlesbrough Council recognised that some residents accessing support through the JCP held negative perceptions and attitudes towards the JCP, which subsequently contributing to their health (physical and mental) and wellbeing, as well as their families. The client wanted to understand these attitudes and behaviours more closely and create a campaign that could challenge these.

Research and insights

Here's what we found from the research.

Ahead of conducting primary research with the target audience, we wanted to develop a knowledge base by conducting secondary research - this helped to identify previous literature and research around the health and wellbeing of welfare claimants. As well as developing this foundation, we used some of the insight to help create research tools including surveys and a discussion guide.

Previous insight showed that individuals suffering from mental ill-health did not feel confident with the quality of support they received from their local JobCentre Plus - this led to a vicious cycle where individuals held negative perceptions of their JobCentre Plus which impacted on their relationship with advisors and their health further.

Working with local mental health services, we facilitated two focus groups with benefit claimants as well as two surveys - one with benefit claimants and one with service staff. Participants were provided with a £25 voucher as an incentive for taking part in the research.

Once we conducted the research, we analysed the data and pulled together an insight pack as a tool for Middlesbrough Council to use in tackling this issue - this included a range of recommendations based on the insight. These ranged from communications based recommendations to more service based recommendations.

We found that individuals accessing welfare support held deep-seated myths and perceptions that acted as a barrier in them accessing employment support. Claimants strongly felt that any mental ill-health would act as a barrier in them gaining employment.

Middlesbrough roller banners

Myth busting campaign

We used insight from primary research to develop a campaign.

We developed a myth busting campaign concept that focused on myths that created a negative impact on the wellbeing of benefit claimants. The campaign, Talk to Us, aims to challenge myths that prevent benefit claimants from having open discussions with their work coaches in an attempt to improve employment levels and wellbeing.

We approached this by having the main focus on myths commonly held by the target audience and truths that would challenge those myths. This enabled the target audience to focus solely on the myths and truths. To localise the print campaign to Middlesbrough, we included outlines of local landmarks to make the campaign easily identifiable to local residents.