Creaming and Parking

At the flexible New Deal launch last week, I bumped into a rather well-known government adviser, and took the opportunity to ask him what he thought of creaming, parking and other perverse incentives. His response:

  • They're looking at it closely, and will continue to do so
  • The obvious way to tackle it would be to offer improved incentives for harder-to-help groups, similarly to the points system that rewards JCP advisers
  • He's not certain that creaming and parking will be major issues. Provider feedback is that it's often impossible to accurately determine how difficult it will be to move someone into work, so everyone gets helped

I was half-expecting a spirited defence of parking as the most rational solution, so the presumption that harder-to-help customers are also deserving of proper support was surprising and in some ways quite gratifying. If I were being cynical, I would suggest that of course providers would claim they weren't parking. However, accurate initial assessment of customers is well-known to be difficult. What do you think?