Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Work Programme a Resounding Failure for 70% of Claimants, Work and Pensions Select Committee Reports.

Work Programme ‘fails to find work for 70% of claimants’.

Reports the BBC

Nearly 70% of people who go through the government’s main welfare-to-work scheme fail to find sustained employment, a committee of MPs says.

The Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee said the £5bn Work Programme – launched in 2011 – was “not working well” for people with complex problems.

But the MPs also said the programme was “at least as good” as its predecessors, at a much lower cost to the taxpayer.

The government said the Work Programme was “a real success”.

  • Follow the latest updates on the day’s political developments on Politics Live

The programme, which replaced a number of different schemes in operation under the last Labour government, is aimed at helping the long-term unemployed find a job.

It is run by providers who offer support and training to people on jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) and employment and support allowance (ESA). The providers are paid on the basis of the number of people finding and staying in work.

‘Deserves credit’ (er……)

The committee said nearly 70% of people who had completed their two-year attachment to the scheme, which applies in England, Scotland and Wales, had failed to find sustained employment.

The MPs recommended a series of changes to the “complicated and less than effective” payments model when the current contracts expire in April 2017.

People with drug and alcohol addiction, illiteracy and innumeracy and the homeless should be better served, the committee said.

A separate, specialist scheme for people with “substantial disabilities” would also help the government meet its goal to halve the employment rate gap between disabled people and non-disabled people, the MPs added.

Committee chairman Frank Field said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) “deserves credit for implementing a programme which, in general, produces results at least as good as before, for a greatly reduced cost per participant”.

But the Labour MP added: “We must not forget that nearly 70% of participants are completing the Work Programme without finding sustained employment. We must do much better.”

‘Value for money’ (more ers….)

The Employment Related Services Association, which represents the programme’s contractors, welcomed the “hugely positive” report and said the next round of contracts had to “build on success“.

(Note: they would wouldn’t they..)

“However, the sector is working with jobseekers with ever greater barriers to work and thus the government has to ensure the next round of programmes also has the right financing in place,” said its chief executive Kirsty McHugh.

The body called for earlier referral of jobseekers, rather than allowing them to stay on benefits without specialist support, and moving to an assessment process based on the needs of jobseekers rather than the benefits they received.

A DWP spokesman said it would respond to the committee’s recommendations “in due course” but pointed out that almost half a million of the hardest-to-help claimants have been supported into employment through the Work Programme.

“That’s a real success, and we welcome the committee’s finding that the programme is better value for money to the taxpayer than any previous scheme.

“The programme helps people to overcome barriers to finding a job, including those with drug and alcohol problems and the long-term unemployed, and further intensive support is offered through Help to Work for those who complete the Work Programme without finding a job.”

This is what the parasites and chancers of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) said in detail.

ERSA has today welcomed the latest Work and Pensions Committee report on back to work programmes, which has for the first time recognised that the Work Programme has produced results at least as good as previous programmes, but at greatly reduced cost. However, it has called on Government to make sure that future provision builds on this success and that the future financial settlement recognises the costs of supporting jobseekers with ever more complex needs.

The report, the second under the leadership of Committee Chair, Frank Field, comes at a critical time for the sector, with decision making about the shape and financing of future back to work programmes expected in the Comprehensive Spending Review.

The report echoes many of the points within ERSA’s own blueprint for future services, Evolution not Revolution’including the need for additional government expenditure on jobseekers who are furthest from the labour market. In addition, ERSA backs calls from the Committee for earlier referral of jobseekers, rather than allowing them to stay on benefits without specialist support, and moving to an assessment process based on real jobseeker need rather than benefit type.

Other points supported by ERSA include:

  • The need to integrate employment services with wider services, including health and skills, required by jobseekers
  • Enabling more specialist providers, particularly of disability services, to play their part
  • The introduction of an ‘innovation fund’ used to test and develop new approach to supporting jobseekers

Speaking in response to the report, Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive, ERSA, said:

“This report comes at a critical time.  It’s hugely positive that the Committee has recognised the great work of the sector in helping the long term unemployed into work. However, the sector is working with jobseekers with ever greater barriers to work and thus the government has to ensure the next round of programmes not only builds on success, but also has the right financing in place.’

The Report is here:

This is the summary,

The Work Programme has streamlined the procurement of welfare-to-work, created a stable, GB-wide welfare-to-work infrastructure, and now produces a similar level of job outcomes for mainstream participants as previous programmes. DWP deserves credit for implementing a programme which, in general, produces results at least as good as before for a greatly reduced cost per participant.

Yet too many long-term unemployed people remain out of work after two years on the programme. It must not be forgotten that nearly 70% of participants are completing the Work Programme without finding sustained employment. In particular, the Work Programme is not working well for people with more complex or multiple barriers to employment who need more intensive help. We have a duty to the 70% to do much better.

The focus for the next set of contracts must be to identify claimants who require more personalised and intensive support to address complex barriers to working, and refer them to appropriate help more quickly. To achieve this DWP needs to:

  • Develop and introduce a new, standardised, characteristic-based assessment of claimants’ barriers to work, for use across the employment support sector;
  • Replace the Work Programme’s complicated and less than effective differential payment model with a much simpler payment model with clearer (and generally earlier) referral points, and which more directly incentivises providers to invest resources in supporting people with complex needs;
  • Ensure that all participants receive an acceptable level of service, by introducing a single set of measurable minimum standards; and
  • Maintain, and ideally expand, a separate employment programme for disabled people, while also addressing key flaws in the current Work Choice programme.

Improved assessment and triage, alterations to contracts and more effective payment models will help, but are only part of the answer. The Government will also need to encourage, facilitate and invest in:

  • More effective integration of employment support with related, locally-run services, including health, education and skills, and housing; and
  • Creating the conditions for genuine innovation, learning and dissemination of best practice across the employment support sector.

DWP should establish an Employment Support Innovation Fund, set at 2–3% of the total budget for the next mainstream programme, which should be used to test and develop innovative and effective approaches to employment support for groups which have been poorly served to date. The Cabinet Office should bring labour market policy into the remit of a What Works Centre, so that employment programmes can continue to evolve based on robust evidence of what is most likely to be effective for different types of people in different localities.

These changes would create an employment support system which is set up better to address the challenges of the contemporary labour market, and equipped to help into work people who have been distant from the labour market, and inadequately supported, for far too long.

This is straw that the welfare-business chancers clutch at,

8.DWP deserves credit for implementing a programme which, in general, produces results at least as good as previous programmes for a greatly reduced cost per participant. It has also established a stable GB-wide welfare-to-work infrastructure and brought about efficiencies in DWP’s procurement and contract-management. It is vital that the Government continues to encourage, facilitate and invest in new and more effective approaches; it must not be forgotten that, notwithstanding the relative successes, nearly 70% of Work Programme participants are still not achieving the desired outcome of sustained employment. We owe it to the 70% to do much better. We intend to keep a watching brief on DWP’s efforts to support this group and we may return to this issue later in this Parliament. (Paragraph 87).

We note that no organisation campaigning for the unemployed gave evidence. These are the people who did.

Sam Hanes, Principal Adviser and Head, Labour Market and Economic Growth, The Behavioural Insights Team, Tom Gash, Director of Research, Institute for Government, Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive, Employment Related Services Association, and Dave Simmonds, Chief Executive, Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion


Steve Hawkins, Chief Executive, Pluss, Liz Armstrong, Director of Health and Wellbeing & Integrated Services, APM UK, Dan Jones, Director of Innovation Lab, Nesta, and Christine Chang, Investment Director, Big Society Capital


Monday 14 September 2015

Robyn Fairman, Strategic Lead, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark Pathways to Employment Programme, Mat Ainsworth, Greater Manchester Lead for Employment Initiatives, Public Service Reform Team, New Economy, Dr David Halpern, What Works National Adviser, Cabinet Office, Kris Krasnowski, Director, Central London Forward, and Theresa Grant, Greater Manchester Chief Executive Lead for Employment and Skills.


Rt Hon Priti Patel, Minister for Employment, Matt Thurstan, Director, Senior Management and Business Management Team, Contracted Employment Provision Directorate, and Iain Walsh, Director, Labour Market and international Affairs, Department for Work and Pensions.

There is nothing about how claimants feel about the Work Programme, or  about workfare, and the effects of sanctions.

Nothing about the abuses of the system by the ‘contractors’, and the exploitation of claimants on Mandatory Work Activity and other scams.

Meanwhile in the real world we learn that all long-term unemployed will now attend an hour’s special courses every time they sign on – delivered by the Job Centres. 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 21, 2015 at 10:04 am

48 Responses

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  1. As I have past experience of being on these various courses from the TOPS scheme of the late 80’s through to the CAP of the 1990’s and by various guises up to an including today. (BTW I am now on pre assessment stage of ESA and have been since March 2015). I am coming to the conclusion that being on these schemes leaves a black mark on your character. It smacks of the ECONOMIC LEAGUE that kept people out of work for years and years. Of course the DWP in it’s various guises through the past decades will refute this.

    Mister Middlesex

    October 21, 2015 at 10:15 am

    • And the BBC used the Economic League.. tells you everything you need to know about ‘Auntie Beeb’… 😉


      October 21, 2015 at 10:26 pm

  2. I’m sure I’ve read that the DWP’s estimate of the number of JSA claimants who would get jobs without intervention is 28%. Therefore, if 70% of WP participants are not getting jobs, and 28% are but would have anyway, then the actual success rate is about 2%. Hardly a good return on £5bn of taxpayers’ money.


    October 21, 2015 at 11:10 am

  3. Its the first time I didn’t bother reading this new blog, because of the obvious nonsense DWP come out with regarding the work programme,

    I did though see barriers to work, we all know what the top one is.


    October 21, 2015 at 11:16 am

  4. When are the parasites going to admit that the biggest barrier to work is lack of jobs. Notice that no one says ‘”There are jobs out there if you look”, these days.
    When I went to a JC organised jobsfair there was only 2 actual employers there, B&M and the bleedin’ army! All the rest were parasites/trainers, So all 500 visitors/victims applied for the 4 temporary part-time B&M ‘jobs’!
    I went around and asked near enough every trainer what actual paid work are they training people for, – not one of them could answer!

    Another Fine Mess

    October 21, 2015 at 11:39 am

    • No one except the Tories, say that there are jobs out there if you look.


      October 21, 2015 at 12:45 pm

  5. OT: ‘Coercive’ therapy proposals for jobcentres

    hat-tip to :

    Click to access cbt-today-september-2015.pdf

    Page 4 – Statement from the Board – ‘Coercive’ therapy proposals for jobcentres

    “However, the position of BABCP’s Board of Trustees is that BABCP is against any offer of any treatment
    (including CBT) based on coercion or associated with unfair or disproportionate inducements.
    This applies to whether CBT interventions are offered as part of therapy, research, or in any other context (for example, corporate training/development).
    Coercion is defined by BABCP as the threat of punishment, and unfair and disproportionate inducements are defined by us as rewards for participation which are such that an individual is pressurised by the extent or form of the inducement to accept an offer which they would otherwise refuse.”

    Further :

    “BABCP does not recognise the validity or applicability of generalised psychological explanations of social
    issues such as joblessness.”

    And Finally:

    “Furthermore, there is currently insufficient evidence to indicate whether it is effective and such evidence as there is indicates significant problems with the structure and implementation of the programme.”



    October 21, 2015 at 11:48 am

      • Interesting – very interesting. From reading the article she’d get my support.

        With the caveat of course of them at some point getting into bed/aligning with the devil.

        However, with a CV of working at the UN I think the above is a very slim while she is there.

        Hopefully via the donors, a few wrongs will be highlighted and corrected in the way the ConCons hate most – publicly in the courts, and cost them [present and future governments] money.



        October 21, 2015 at 2:07 pm

  6. Do these people have any idea what’s going on in and around Redcar? The whole idea of solemnly sitting around discussing what claimants can do to get jobs is absurd given the current context. The argument should be, how are we going to facilitate necessary access to money now that, for many, adequately paid work is increasingly no longer an option?

    Bill Kruse

    October 21, 2015 at 11:52 am

    • Do these people have any idea what’s going on in and around much of the country? The whole idea of solemnly sitting around discussing what claimants can do to get jobs is absurd given the current context. The argument should be, how are we going to facilitate necessary access to money now that, for many, adequately paid work is increasingly no longer an option?

      Another Fine Mess

      October 21, 2015 at 12:08 pm

  7. All:


    Every year we need you to verify your claim so we can make sure you are getting the correct amount of benefit and to give you the chance to tell us about changes in your circumstance you have not told us about.”

    I received the above today – a five page letter/form. Has anyone here ever had one? And is it mandatory to complete? I’m long-term unemployed and I’ve never heard of it.

    jj joop

    October 21, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    • Yep, just sign date and send off.
      I thought it was odd that they insist ALL pages be sent back, so I sent them some pizza leaflets as well.

      Another Fine Mess

      October 21, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      • Thanks for that. I think I’ll put dog excrement in mine.

        jj joop

        October 21, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      • CAUTION> I had one yesterday. It’s a COMPLIANCE OFFICER you see (The Fraud Unit). Take a friend with you.

        Mister Middlesex

        October 23, 2015 at 8:20 am

    • A comment on: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/benefit-sanction-warning-period-to-be-introduced-iain-duncan-smith-announces-a6704111.html

      This very morning I received a letter from the benefits agency informing me my benefits including my housing benefit had been stopped as of 9th October. The reason:- I failed to reply to the annual verification letter. My problem with this:- I replied within the time limit, not once, but twice.
      The letter goes on to explain the decision CANNOT be appealed against and to avoid continued sanctions I must send the completed form back, which I obviously cannot comply with as I already sent it many weeks ago. …

      Another Fine Mess

      October 23, 2015 at 11:49 am

      • As I said in my above post. I received a letter telling me that I was required to attend this meeting. However I did NOT receive a form just a letter with a telephone number starting 01284 which btw is Bury St Edmunds. I phoned it and I got an answer machine telling me that if I did not attend for any reason all my benefits would cease. When I arrived at my local JCP I was told to sit in the bottom left waiting area. I was then called into one of the offices at the back of the screens of this area. I was then seen by a COMPLIANCE OFFICER. She told me she was from the joint fraud unit with the council and jcp. I was required to take with me all my recent bills and the last years worth of bank statements. She explained that the compliance team work with the fraud units of the Local Authority – DWP and HMRC. I was also required to produce photo ID. The bank statements were kept. I was allowed to keep my bills. I was then informed that I may be required again in two years time for the same interview. I will be 60 then. It was also explained that the same interview could occur prior being put onto UC.

        Mister Middlesex

        October 23, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      • Annual Verification and Compliance letters are quite different things.

        Another Fine Mess

        October 23, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      • Thank You. The Letter I Did Receive However Did State It Was A Review.

        Mister Middlesex

        October 24, 2015 at 7:48 am

  8. OT: WTC Zero Hours

    hat-tip to ‏@refuted 2h2 hours ago
    WTC and Zero Hours Contracts


    “tax credits are really not suited to zero hours contracts and overpayments or underpayments are likely”


    October 21, 2015 at 3:07 pm

  9. We all know the Wank Programme was a total bust. However, has anyone heard of Work Programme Plus?

    Check out this answer to a recent FOI request. It was refused.


    jj joop

    October 21, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    • Gazza posted this a few days ago.

      Replacement for Work Programme [Plus]



      October 21, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      • enigma:

        Yeah. Thanks for that. I did see Gazza’s posting a few days ago.

        But the article doesn’t actually say when or if Work Programme Plus is going to happen. Will it be trialled in a few selected areas before being rolled out, etc? It’s all rather up in the air at the moment.

        Although you know what they say: you can’t keep a good pimp down. If they sense another feeding frenzy at the trough, you won’t be able to stop them. It will be a case of lights, camera and another slew of utterly pointless and mind-numbing activities to drive us all around the bend.

        Or as Mr Coates would say: it’s back to fucking Narnia wonderland.

        jj joop

        October 21, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      • “However, the sector is working with jobseekers with ever greater barriers to work and thus the government has to ensure the next round of programmes……………………..


        October 21, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      • I thought Narnia wonderland was a dream, but it’s come true!

        “Iain Duncan Smith blows £8.5m on fluffy animated monster as he slashes vital help for disabled people

        Iain Duncan Smith spent more than £8.5 million on an ad campaign featuring a giant fluffy monster – as his department makes savage cuts to disability benefit.

        The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will tonight launch the bizarre new ad campaign featuring the character, known as Workie.

        Mr Duncan Smith has been tasked with slashing the welfare bill, axeing vital help for disabled people, reducing the welfare cap and banning young people from claiming housing benefit.

        In June, the Work and Pensions Secretary choked off government cash for the Independent Living Fund (ILF), which helped 18,000 disabled people live at home instead of in care homes.”

        “Workie is a Pixar-esque fluffy monster character. He’s about nine feet tall, has a mix of blue and purple fur and horns.

        In the ad, he’s seen bumbling around in a park trying to get the attention of small business owners, only for them to turn their backs and ignore him.

        The only attention he gets is from a small French bulldog, who looks quizzically at him.

        He cost £8.54m.”


        Andrew Coates

        October 21, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      • “We need everyone to know they are entitled to a workplace pension” meanwhile in Juy 13



        Are the DWP going to contact people with less than 10 years NI to tell them they won’t receive any state pension



        And this from July 13.

        Spending over £8.million for an add, meanwhile millions of people are suffering because of the amount of money taken away from them.


        October 21, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    • Thanks for that JJ Joop.

      Will keep our eyes peeled for that one.

      Andrew Coates

      October 21, 2015 at 4:49 pm

  10. Yes I see that the FOI was refused also, in regard to the work programme plus, The DWP obviously don’t want anyone to know if and when, but we know it will probably happen, as well as many other schemes in the future. “no one will be left behind” as it states in the global goals.


    October 21, 2015 at 4:14 pm

  11. More on the VOID: https://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/oh-ros-youre-an-embarrassment-we-cant-ignore-dontignoreit/

    Andrew Coates

    October 21, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    • Workie? Like its predecessors: Wenlock and Mandeville, the mascots for the UK Olympics, Workie’s existence begs a question -WHY? Is this what we’ve fucking come to. Kill me, please. For fuck’s sake, just kill me.

      I think we should start a petition and call it: Why it’s okay to set Workie (and IDS) on fire.

      jj joop

      October 21, 2015 at 6:22 pm

  12. A tribute to Michael Meacher.

    Here’s a post from Michael, from April 30, 2015:

    1,000 richest Britons now hold assets worth £547 billions, 13m Britons now in poverty, half in work.



    October 21, 2015 at 5:42 pm

  13. any one beat my work programme record of 20 mins in 2 years 😉


    October 21, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    • Sorry superted but you don’t win anything for that 🙂


      October 22, 2015 at 1:44 am

  14. Anyone bring this rubbish up at DWP and I’ll repeat back “Wankie” everytime


    October 21, 2015 at 7:16 pm

  15. Oh another scheme, lets find out out if this one works. “A separate, specialist scheme for people with “substantial disabilities” would also help the government meet its goal to halve the employment rate gap between disabled people and non-disabled people,”


    October 21, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    • What are the idiots going to do when they find, for example ageism, disableism, certificateism, are all problems caused by employers and not the victims?
      Let me guess, Waste Programme 3 £££££

      Another Fine Mess

      October 22, 2015 at 10:46 am

  16. George Osborne urged to set out full impact of tax credit cuts.

    Government’s independent social security advisory committee says ministers must urgently explain to benefit claimants how cuts will affect them.



    October 22, 2015 at 12:53 am

    • Come on G Osborne, spell it out, to all those who you will take money from, and tell them all why.


      October 22, 2015 at 10:47 am

      • GidIdiot said he’d sort it …. unfortuntely…

        Its the effect of the “Taper” that’s being applied, and when people start asking why wasn’t the minimum wage increased – which is legally enforcable – unlike the Living Wage which is not and is therefore just a ‘Aspiration’ its going to hit the fan, and finally with the explosion of Zero Hours Contracts and the fact UC will roll on a 4 week period most if not all on such contracts will suffer over/under payments. So:

        – Taper impacting total amount down by 80% of any Forseen increase, not actual income, immediately
        – Why minimum wage not increased rather than depending on voluntary increase by employers
        – Zero Hours Contracts unworkable under UC


        October 22, 2015 at 1:19 pm

  17. More misleading as per usual.

    David Cameron has been accused of misleading steelworkers losing their jobs after it emerged an £80m fund to help them find new work will partly be used to pay their final salaries and redundancy packages.

    Anna Turley, the Labour MP for Redcar, said she had seen an email to a constituent from James Wharton, the northern powerhouse minister, that confirmed the aid cash to support the workers was actually also a bailout fund for salaries they were due from their employers.



    October 22, 2015 at 1:21 am

    • Yeah the tax credits cut it a. Bummer, it’s funny I really thought they’d leave tax credits alone until UC!! The raise to 7.20 won’t. Help me as I’m on living wage for the cleaning and above that for the senior midday supervisor job. Still I’ll be worse off! I realise I’m very lucky, I’m the rare statistics, I only ever did induction on the waste programme and have only signed on for 2 weeks in the past 4 years since I left it! Obviously that’s of no credit to the waste programme since their support did f… All for me!

      Kat rehman

      October 25, 2015 at 10:46 am

      • Kat, the cut to tax credits might just be stopped, have a good sleep!


        October 25, 2015 at 8:23 pm

  18. The nation is turning against Cameron it seems, according to the mirror. if only everyone knew the truth of what is happening.


    October 22, 2015 at 11:51 am

  19. The ongoing case of tax credits.

    David Cameron faces a backlash over welfare in the House of Lords after Labour and Liberal Democrat peers tabled motions to block cuts to tax credits.



    October 22, 2015 at 1:05 pm

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