When the Work Programme was first introduced as part of the new Welfare to Work agenda the LSEN organised a number of meetings, seminars and events to inform voluntary organisations about the opportunities and risks of getting involved in the Programme as a sub-contractor.
It became clear, early on in these discussions, that the Programme did not recognise the difficulties many people at a distance from the labour market would find in re-engaging in sustained employment.
In the end very few voluntary organisations were able to engage with the Programme and those that did were the larger organisations which could at least manage the risk to some extent. However, as reported in the LSEN News regularly over the past few months, many of these organisations have now been forced to close down as they have been unable to meet targets or manage the cash flows involved
The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has now produced the Department for Work and Pensions: Work Programme outcome statistics - Thirty-third Report of Session 2012–13.
In this Report The Rt Hon. Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, states that the programme’s performance has been ‘extremely poor’, citing the 3.6 percent performance rate (compared to a target of 11.9 per cent); pointed out that none of the providers have met their minimum performance targets; and the programme has failed to help young people and those furthest away from the labour market.
The Report has come to these conclusions:
The programme is ‘performing well below expectations'
Considerable variations exist between individual providers’ performance.
The incentives put in place to encourage providers to help those hardest to help ‘are not working’.
The programme’s ‘poor performance to date increases the risk that one or more provider will fail.’
The full report can be downloaded here –
Here are few quotes from the Report to wet your appetite
“Individual Work Programme providers’ performance in helping claimants into employment varies widely, but not one of the 18 providers has met their contractual targets”
“The difference between actual and expected performance is greatest for those claimants considered the hardest to help, including in particular claimants with disabilities. The Department’s own evaluation suggests that these claimants have been receiving a poor service from providers.”
“Given the poor performance across providers, there is a high risk that one or more will fail—either they will go out of business or the Department will cancel their contracts.”
“Recognising that some providers might fail, the Department told us that it has processes to manage the impact on claimants should this happen. The Department will need to keep a close eye on which providers are most likely to fail and must manage all consequential risks.”
“The Department expected that between June 2011 and July 2012, the Work Programme would secure successful outcomes—moving off benefit and into sustained employment—for 104,000 people, 11.9% of those referred to providers. In practice, 31,000 people moved off benefit and into sustained employment, only 3.6% of claimants on the Programme.”