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”.
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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.