5 thoughts on the great Work Programme fiasco


2:25 pm - November 27th 2012

by Don Paskini    


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The government published figures for their Work Programme, designed to help unemployed people to find work. Here are five thoughts on the figures:

1. Performance has been way below the minimum threshold… The Guardian is reporting that 3.5% of people have got jobs lasting at least six months, against a minimum performance target of 5.5%. But today’s figures cover a fourteen month period. So the like for like comparison is that just 2.3% of people have got long term jobs, less than half the minimum performance level.

2. …and the Work Programme has been especially ineffective at helping disabled people. The proportion of people in receipt of Employment Support Allowance who have been helped by the Work Programme to find long term work is 0.93%, according to analysis by the Social Market Foundation. Scope’s analysis found that out of 79,000 Employment and Support Allowance claimants, only 1,000 have been in work for six months.

3. As predicted, workfare doesn’t work. One element of the Work Programme which government ministers have been keen to talk up is about forcing people to participate in ‘workfare’ schemes, where their benefits are conditional on them doing work. It’s worth remembering that this is only one element of the Work Programme, and that many of the participants would either have got jobs without any assistance, or benefited from help with CVs, interview practice, finding out about job opportunities and other sorts of support which providers offered. The number who got paid work as a result of workfare must, therefore, have been absolutely minimal.

4. The fact that none of the providers did well shows that the Work Programme is fundamentally flawed. The Work Programme was designed to give providers the flexibility to do whatever they thought would be effective in supporting people into work, rather than government prescribing one single approach. The fact that none of the providers, private or voluntary, were able to meet the minimum performance targets shows that there is something fundamentally wrong with the programme which goes beyond any individual organisation.

5. But some providers did do better than others. It should come as no surprise to anyone that a4e performed particularly badly in helping people into work. Of the four areas where they were prime contractors, they were top performers in precisely none.

In contrast, Ingeus are prime contractors in six regions, and in every single region, they helped more people into work than the other providers working in the same region.

What’s interesting about this is that Ingeus pay their Employment Advisers substantially more than most other providers, with the aim of recruiting highly skilled people who are able to offer personalised support to help people into work.

This isn’t a magic solution which can overcome all the flaws of the Work Programme, but it is an interesting piece of evidence which is worth remembering the next time you see a public service reformer publish yet another pamphlet calling for public service pay to be held down and asserting that changing structures will lead to better outcomes.

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About the author
Don Paskini is deputy-editor of LC. He also blogs at donpaskini. He is on twitter as @donpaskini
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Reader comments


1. Solomon Hughes

On (5) it is worth noting that, whenever they have been compared (by the DWP’s own research, by the NAO) Jobcentre staff have outperformed contractors like Working Links,A4e. This isn’t because of pay – JobCente staff aren’t well paid , but probably because they are not profit/sales driven. Most of the workfare firms are essentially hiring sales staff without employment qualifications, then putting them under a “targets” regime aimed at farming as much govt subsidy as they can. Whereas Jobcentre staff were at least – tho’ low paid – working for an organisation without these perverse incentives. Jobcentre staff notably outperformed contractors like Working Links, A4e on helping “hard to help” groups with long term joblesness or disabilities .

remember boys from the blackstuff in the 80s,check you tube out you young bucks to understand where i am coming from here,but here is the thing,watchdog on bbc1 exposes con men and shady dealers,now,david the con man cameron must think we was all born in a suitcase if he thinks he can con the unemployed masses out there to apply for non existent jobs in a non existent jobs market with the santion of if you dont apply for one on the non existent jobs you will have 30% of your dole money cut ,do the right thing says are great leader david cameron and find a job,we are trying to find a bloody job david, but believe me there non out there,do the right thing david cameron and stop treating us like bloody mugs mate.ps. i shall be reporting the con men to watchdog on bbc 1 to be investigated for advertising non existent jobs,beware david cameron we are onto you mate.

We the tax payer are probably just getting ripped off !

The fact that none of the providers, private or voluntary, were able to meet the minimum performance targets shows that there is something fundamentally wrong with the programme which goes beyond any individual organisation.

Could it possibly be that the fundamental problem is that there’s just not enough jobs? There is literally no amount of help that will get people into work if the jobs just aren’t there.

All economist predicted two years ago that if an economic recovery showed it’s head it would be a JOBLESS recovery.

Have the Tory’s been fattening up yet another friend to divert money that will bring them financial rewards or rewards in kind at a later date just as what is happening with OUR Nhs.

I smell more legalized criminality in action.

Dunc:

Exactly. The whole idea that these types of programmes can reduce the overall level of unemployment at a time when there is obviously a large shortage of employment is crazy, and it baffles me that large numbers of people continue debating the success or failure of the programmes without noticing this.

But I think the popularity of ‘workfare’ and similar schemes really doesn’t come from the promise of getting people into work. This is just an additional justification for it, offered to bring centrists on board.

Among those who most like the idea, I think it’s probably much more widely seen as a deterrent to claiming benefit, and also getting some form of moral payback from scroungers – i.e. enforcing a moral principle of no work, no food.

5. But some providers did do better than others.

You must be glad that they are getting performance related pay then.

Jungle @ 6

i.e (scroungers): enforcing a moral principle of no work no food.

A really expensive way of using tax payers money to feed those that will not deliver and get the unemployed into work.

Heads should roll for this because the money could have been used for real apprenticeships and other worth while training that would have led to jobs rather than blackmailing people into thinking that they will starve if they do not attend the Work Programme that is unlikely to bring about employment.

This entire matter has turned out to be Reversed Psychology, inside out and upside down Tory style.

The system might not have worked, but does that say more about the long term unemployed or the lack of jobs? I did an eight week work placement in the spring and really enjoyed it. It didn’t get me a job, but I’m glad I did it as it was something new and different.

In depressed places it’s perfectly understandable that there’s long term unemployment, but in London it seems a bit crazy that English people can’t get work, but Polish people can.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Stephen Kelly

    Great summary of the workfare shambles today, with some facts and stats showing just how massively it has failed. http://t.co/7TLjFS5s

  2. Izzie Sharman

    Great summary of the workfare shambles today, with some facts and stats showing just how massively it has failed. http://t.co/7TLjFS5s

  3. judy hamilton

    Excellent @libcon analysis of today's dire Work Programme figures: http://t.co/qftMi1nJ Figures even worse than widely reported.

  4. nikky c

    Excellent @libcon analysis of today's dire Work Programme figures: http://t.co/qftMi1nJ Figures even worse than widely reported.

  5. Brummie Protestor

    Great summary of the workfare shambles today, with some facts and stats showing just how massively it has failed. http://t.co/7TLjFS5s

  6. Ed

    Great summary of the workfare shambles today, with some facts and stats showing just how massively it has failed. http://t.co/7TLjFS5s

  7. dolly

    Great summary of the workfare shambles today, with some facts and stats showing just how massively it has failed. http://t.co/7TLjFS5s

  8. jenny morris

    5 thoughts on the great Work Programme fiasco | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/YNvR0N8M via @libcon

  9. Eugene Grant

    5 thoughts on great #WorkProgramme fiasco http://t.co/ukPz6aH3 > Scope’s analysis: only 1k out of 79k ESA claimants been in work for 6 mnths

  10. riazbhatti

    RT @libcon 5 thoughts on the great Work Programme fiasco http://t.co/eokq7xjo > what government prog has ever worked?





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