DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
e-mail: [email address].g ov.uk
Our Ref: FoI 4157
DATE: 30 November 2016
Dear Frank Zola,
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request of 31 October 2016. You asked: Please disclose information you hold about the "Health and Work Conversation" mentioned in
today's consultation on Work, health and disability: improving lives.
Please include specimen copies of this DWP tool and specifically details of the role the
Behaviour Insights Team played in it's creation.
Under the current system, the first time that a person who begins claiming Employment
Support Allowance (ESA) has contact with a work coach is typically after their Work Capability
Assessment (WCA), at least three months into their claim. We know that the start of a claim
can be a challenging time for claimants and therefore would like to offer them more support,
we are therefore introducing an early intervention for those claiming ESA. In collaboration with
a range of stakeholders including work coaches and charities, we have designed the new
Health and Work Conversation (HWC) which will take place four weeks after a person begins
claiming ESA. The Health and Work Conversation will help claimants to establish a
relationship with their work coach at an early stage, provides an opportunity for the claimant to
be made aware of available support, and allows the claimant and work coach to jointly develop
a plan of voluntary activities.
The Health and Work Conversation is a conversation rather than a tool. The conversation will
consist of the following principal elements:
An opportunity for the Work Coach to get to know individuals, to build rapport and trust,
and to understand more about the individual as a whole person: their background and
the things that really matter to them in their lives.
A goal-setting exercise, in which the individual chooses a short-term personal goal and
works with the Work Coach to plan steps to achieve their goal. This goal can be related
to health or work, but does not need to be about either of these. Individuals will identify
ways to overcome possible obstacles they face in their everyday lives, to increase their
motivation and build resilience. Work Coaches will use discretion throughout to ensure
that these exercises are used only where circumstances are appropriate.
The HWC will be followed by an action planning exercise, in which the Work Coach and
individual will work together to devise a Claimant Commitment once it is introduced.
The work coach will inform the claimant about the support available to help them to
improve their situation.
The conversation was co-designed by the DWP with BIT, health and disabled people's
charities, and front line staff. It draws on an extensive body of behavioural research
undertaken by Professor Gabriele Oettingen and others at New York University.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
DWP Strategy FoI Team
Your right to complain under the Freedom of Information Act
If you are not happy with this response you may request an internal review by e-mailing freedom-of-information-
or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, Caxton House, Tothill Street, SW1H 9NA. Any
review request should be submitted within two months of the date of this letter.
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review you may apply directly to the Information
Commissioner’s Office for a decision. General y the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have
exhausted our own complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk