This blog post was written by Nick Kimber, Head of Inclusive Economy at Camden Council
The world of work is changing. From people’s shifting expectations around the flexibility and support work should offer, to the way the internet and technology has reshaped jobs across industries, the nature of work, the workforce and work relationships are transforming.
There’s also a growing number of people in work struggling to meet their outgoings — something projected to only get worse. And for those excluded from the labour market, there are many more barriers to overcome. Where poverty is rising, where the welfare system has not adapted and being in work does not always bring stability to our lives, how can we respond to the changes in the way people work, the way they want to work and ensure people earn what they need to live comfortably?
This is something we’re trying to answer in Camden.
Defining ‘good’ work
In Camden, we believe that stable, good quality work supports people to live a full life. Without this fundamental platform, it’s much harder for individuals, families and communities to thrive. But what do we mean by ‘good’ work?
We define good work as the ability for everyone to access the work that’s right for them, in a job that provides income, stability and the headspace needed to live a healthy, balanced life.
Camden is at the centre of a global economy, yet many local residents are not benefiting from the growth around them. There are many services meant to help people find work, but they’re often catered around a narrow profile. It’s a transactional process, favouring the busy employer in need of personnel and resource over the needs of the individual. It’s an exclusionary process that doesn’t support the wide and varied needs of the community to find fulfilling work.
We think it’s time to do more. We’re uniquely positioned to create the conditions and take the lead in preparing our borough for change. Using the council’s role within the community to go further, our goal is to radically rethink how we build an inclusive economy, leveraging the rich assets in our borough to widen the impact of the work of all our partners, where everyone has access to growth so more residents are in good work now and in the future.
Good Work Camden
At the starting point of this journey, we’re working with FutureGov and have begun designing the Good Work Camden programme — a coherent architecture for a system of employment support that reflects the needs of local communities. Through this architecture, we aim to reduce in-work poverty, unite a disjointed network of employment support and build relationships with businesses to create the conditions for good work.
Some of the areas we’re looking at include:
- developing a new approach to employment support in our neighbourhoods
- building on existing collaboration and joint working amongst providers to reach those most in need
- developing a better understanding of the information people need and are looking for and how a digital experience can support people to find employment
- building a consistent narrative of what good work practice means for Camden employers
- providing better support to underserved areas and bespoke to people’s lives
- using digital to grow and enhance a service that’s relational
We freely accept that we don’t have all of the answers. And while all of this work supports our borough’s improvements and delivery of the Camden 2025 vision, this isn’t about Camden going it alone and “getting it right”. This is about working in the open, working with partners and learning from others to explore the themes and challenges that exist across London and the UK, that we might build an economy and community that enables all citizens to lead a secure, sustainable and happy life.