Work Programme - more are getting jobs, says DWP

Thu, 27/06/2013 - 13:39 -- nick

There has been an improvement in the number of people getting long-term jobs through the Work Programme, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The Work Programme is the government's flagship scheme supporting unemployed people into jobs, but it was criticised for poor performance last year after only 3.5% of its clients found long-term work.

It has been calculated that 5.5% of workless people would have got a job if they had received no assistance at all, leading to MPs on the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee to describe it as "extremely poor" in February.

DWP figures today show that in the year to March 2013, 13.4% sustained a job for at least six months, although the scheme is still not meeting targets set for it at launch.

In total, just over one million people have accessed the Programme since it started in June 2011, while 132,000 have now found long-term work.

Those on Jobseeker's Allowance and younger people have seen better success rates, while the scheme is still struggling to find work for those on Employment Support Allowance (ESA), sick and disabled claimants who have been found fit to work through the much-criticised fitness for work test.

Only 5.5% of ESA claimants have gained a sustained job, bearing out the findings of MPs on the Work and Pensions Committee which accused providers of 'parking' and 'creaming' clients, supporting only those who have minimal barriers to work while giving little attention to the hard-to-help.

The latest figures are calculated in different ways, with 'long-term' meaning six months for JSA claimants but only three months for ESA claimants, so the disparity between the two is likely to be even more stark when the qualifying periods are equalised.

Employment Minister Mark Hoban lauded the improvement, saying: "The Work Programme is helping large numbers of people escape the misery of long-term unemployment and get back into real jobs.

"The improvement in performance over the past year has been profound and the scheme is getting better and better."

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne, for Labour, said: "Three years into the Parliament, and nearly nine out of 10 people on this flagship programme have been failed.

"Worst of all, the government missed every single one of its minimum targets, and in nearly half the country, the Work Programme is literally worse than doing nothing."

Main Stories: