Funding Cut for Providers Of Work Programme – Despite Having “Done Fantastically”.
Kirsty McHugh: Work Programme Providers have done “Fantastically”.
Last Week Boycott Workfare stated,
What might come next in relation to the Work and Health Programme? Whatever form the scheme takes,it’s likely to ‘segment jobseekers by their characteristics, not by the benefits which they receive’. It can’t be coincidental that in a recent report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Matthew Oakley suggested: ‘a segmentation tool should be introduced to identify the relative difficulty a given individual might have in finding work because of the barriers they face’. DWP pilots involved telephoning claimants and combining that information with data already held by the department. And lengthy interviews with claimants to determine their attitudes to work. The DWP have tried this kind of thing before. It’s always invasive and it can lead to people with the ‘wrong’ attitude to work being penalised.
Signs of restructuring are coming in.
This was published yesterday.
Providers have been warned that government funding to help long-term unemployed people back into work was likely to be dramatically cut by 2020, FE Week can reveal.
The Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) director for contracted employment provision Matt Thurstan last month sent a letter, seen by FE Week, to providers advising on what will happen after current Work Programme contracts end in April 2017.
The scheme, launched in June 2011, involves private, public and voluntary organisations helping to find jobs for people who have normally been unemployed for at least 12 months, although shorter-term unemployed people can also be referred by local Job Centres.
Total funding to providers through the payment-by-results scheme was around £2,001m up to June — which worked out at just over £500m a-year.
But Mr Thurstan said in the letter that the department now recognised “the number of those requiring this support is reducing” — so “core funding” could be cut to just £130m-a-year by 2020/21 for a replacement scheme expected to be launched from May 2017.
“Our new provision will support long-term unemployed claimants reaching the 24-month point in their claim, as well as targeted referrals of claimants with health and disabilities issues,” he added.
Funding cut for back-to-work support The DWP currently has contracts with 15 providers for 18 regions across the country.
The only FE college group contractor is NCG, which currently covers Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country.
The DWP terminated NCG’s contract for the North East Yorkshire and the Humber last March, replacing it with Devon-based Maximus.
The DWP told FE Week at the time that this was because it was the “lowest performing [contract] assessed against a range of measures”.
No-one from NCG was available to comment, but Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) chief executive Kirsty McHugh (pictured above), which represents employment support providers, said: “The programme has done fantastically at moving the long term unemployed into work, but it’s no surprise that the new contracts from April 2017 will focus far more strongly on jobseekers with disabilities and health conditions.
“Our understanding is that the funding mentioned in the letter is the minimum available for the new work and health programme.”
A spokesperson for the Association of Employment and Learning Providers said: “The number of people who have been out of work for over a year has fallen by a quarter in the last 12 months, so providers had anticipated that a replacement programme would be on a smaller scale.”
Our hearts bleed over the fate of the poor “providers” who’ve “done fantastically”.
This choice of words that suggests an “informal” use of the word “fantastically”.
The 6 other, principal meanings are: 1 grotesque: actions: irrational: 4 exorbitant: and 6 outlandish.
But what is being cooked up in the DWP and Iain Duncan Smith’s minds?
We have yet to know.
Meanwhile remember this, as Boycott Workfare points out,
….as @refuted has pointed out, the 35 hours per week of ‘work preparation activity’ that claimants have to do under Universal Credit can include workfare. It means, potentially, that workfare can continue without the need for a named scheme.