Scope: New employment service launched

Imagine being disabled, living on benefits and struggling to pay bills but knowing you have experience and skills that make you employable. Maybe you think employers just won’t understand your needs and you’ve lost confidence in your ability to find work.

What can you do to improve things and get your life back on track? We worked with Scope to explore this problem.

Scope – the disability charity in England and Wales – are working with their headline corporate partner Virgin Media, to tackle disability unemployment.

As part of a strategic transformation programme, Scope wanted to develop a powerful new way to support disabled people with the skills and confidence to get into and stay in work.

Staff at Scope were already regularly interacting with people who might use the service and had multiple ideas around ways it could work. There was also lots of insight around the way similar services in the past had worked that could be fed into the development process.

But with so many things the service could do and ways it could work, how could Scope confidently invest their hard-won budget in the building the right service in a way that would be most effective?

In this case, the answer lay in designing the service in deep collaboration with the people who would use it. Scope commissioned Mace & Menter to lead this process.

Discovery phase insight

Through an initial phase of quantitative and qualitative research, we identified gaps in existing services and unmet needs including:

  • People wanted help searching for jobs that would accommodate their needs – sometimes with flexibility around working hours – but lacked confidence in finding any sympathetic employers
  • People wanted assistance with applications and support through the interview process, for example, some people struggled with knowing how and when to reveal a condition to an employer
  • People wanted extensive information and support around finding work as a disabled person – either from Scope or through links to other useful information elsewhere online

Service co-creation

We went on to run several co-creation workshops where job seekers worked through exercises to explore previous experiences and identify points where they needed support.

We uncovered a clear picture of things the service needed to do and ways people wanted it to work. Scope prioritised what was achievable and returned with an outline of how the service might work. We ran further user research to interrogate and refine the ideas which became the blueprint for ‘Support to Work’.

Support to Work – a new employment service

Support to Work evolved as a tailored online and telephone support programme that runs over 12 weeks. Disabled job seekers are supported by a dedicated employment advisor who collaborates on a tailored action plan that covers things like writing a CV and preparing for interviews. The service is currently live.

Harry Wilkinson, former Head of Growth at Scope said:

“Working with Mace & Menter gave us the opportunity to ask some difficult questions and get a more honest view of who we are and what our services should be. They bring independence and the ability to ask difficult questions of Scope, our customers and people who aren’t yet customers. Mace & Menter’s independence provides internal credibility and adds weight to our work, whether to our board or our non-executive directors”.