Three-quarters of those who have been sent on the Work Programme have still not found work.
According to figures released today by the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), the trade body for Work Programme providers, 1.2 million long-term unemployed people have accessed the programme but only 321,000 found work by the end of March 2013.
This is an improvement on the 207,000 people who had got into work by September last year, but still represents only 27% of all those participating.
The ERSA pointed to the programme's greater successes with young long-term unemployed people, 45% of whom have started work, while those who had been participating for longest also saw better employment rates.
A more difficult regional picture has emerged, with some areas experiencing greater problems in providing jobs than others.
No figures were released for the number of people who had sustained work for a minimum of six months. This was publicised by the government in January and showed that only 3.6% had done this, below the level expected if no support at all had been provided.
The ERSA's numbers include those who have moved into self-employment, and this has been boosted by those pushed into this option even where they have no viable business idea according to a Radio 5 investigation in February.
Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of ERSA said that the improvement in achievements should be recognised:
“These figures are a clear illustration that the Work Programme is performing for the long term unemployed. Put simply, the longer jobseekers are on the programme, the more likely they are to find a job. Results for young people are particularly encouraging, with nearly half of those on the Work Programme for at least a year entering work."
Despite the ERSA's confidence, the Work Programme's payment model means providers are still likely to be struggling to make ends meet, raising questions on whether it is benefitting anyone. The majority of funding is only paid when a job is sustained for a longer period, and improvements in the number entering work will still leave many employment companies out of pocket.
This has a knock-on effect in the amount of money providers are willing to commit to supporting their clients, and also to the parking and creaming of clients, with MPs finding in May that delivery agencies were providing little support to the hard-to-help.