Work Programme “Failing”, it’s Official.
A new Report is out today.
The government’s work programme, intended to help jobseekers back to work, is failing people with disabilities as well as not tackling problems faced by homeless people and those recovering from substance abuse.
MPs found that although the Work Programme got off to a “poor” start there had since been improvements in support for the “mainstream” unemployed.
However the Work and Pensions Committee said there is “growing evidence” that disadvantaged jobseekers are being “parked
It criticised the techniques of providers, who are paid according to their success in securing long-term work for clients, claiming they are playing an “ineffective numbers game” that involves deluging employers with poorly matched CVs and under-prepared candidates.
MPs also said they were “dismayed” to learn that Work Programme advisers had to deal with up to 180 jobseekers, arguing that the caseload was too heavy to allow an effective service.
The Huffington Post focuses on the problems of people with disabilities.
The Guardian adds,
A report by the Commons work and pensions committee published on Tuesday says the employment programme is “unlikely to reach the most disadvantaged long-term unemployed people” and warned that the hardest-to-help jobseekers were “at risk of being ‘parked'” – the industry term for abandoning those claimants who are deemed very unlikely to find work, and therefore offer little prospect of triggering payment-by-results bonuses.
But there are wider problems.
An earlier report said this,
The first set of data to emerge from the Work Programme revealed the number of people being helped into employment was worse than the government had forecasted for if the scheme did not even exist.
Just 3.5% of the 878,000 people referred to the Work Programme’s providersin its first year were lifted into sustained employment, well below the government’s 5.5% target for providers.
A separate group of lawmakers blasted the Work Programme as “extremely poor” and also voiced concern that the hardest-to-help participants were being left behind.
“While we recognised that it is early days for the Work Programme, such poor performance undermines the confidence in its long-term success,” said the Public Accounts Committee (Pac), which took evidence from ministers and service providers.
“The DWP needs a better understanding of the factors that led to early performance being well below expectations in order to assess whether the longer term targets for the Work Programme are still achievable.”
Margaret Hodge, chairwoman of the Pac, said it was “shocking” that just 20 of the 9,500 people on incapacity benefit taking part in the Work Programme had been placed in a job that lasted just three months.
“The Work Programme is absolutely crucial for helping people, especially the most vulnerable, get into and stay in work,” she said.
“However its performance so far has been extremely poor.“
This leads us to ask how the Work and Pensions Committee can make this claim,
The Work Programme has the potential to work well for relatively mainstream jobseekers but is unlikely to reach the most disadvantaged long-term unemployed people, argues the Work and Pensions Committee in a Report published today.
Commenting on the Report, Dame Anne Begg MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:
“The performance of the Work Programme in its first 14 months was poor. There are signs that it is now improving significantly for mainstream jobseekers. We hope the next job outcome statistics to be published in June will bear this out – we will be very concerned if they don’t.
While we recognise this,
The Committee concludes that the Work Programme’s differential pricing structure, which is designed to financially incentivise contracted providers to support those with more challenging barriers to employment, is not having its intended impact on providers’ behaviour. The hardest to help jobseekers remain at risk of being “parked” – given little or no support by providers who assess them as being unlikely to find sustained work.
It is equally the case that evidence given by people writing and commenting on this site that the Work Programme is failing a wide group of people from all kinds of backgrounds.
As the previous post noted, “Work Programme providers begin the chase“.