Latest Public Sector News

22.02.13

Welfare to Work helps just 3.6% of participants

The Government’s Welfare to Work scheme is “failing”, the Public Accounts Committee has concluded. Its report found that the scheme only got 3.6% of people off benefits and into secure employment.

The scheme was set up in June 2011 to help find secure work for the long-term unemployed. The DWP target was 11.9% and progress was also below the official estimate of how many of these would have found work anyway if the programme had never launched, the report stated.

It is estimated to cost between £3bn and £5bn over five years, with providers paid on performance. None have met their contractual targets, with performance varying “wildly”, the PAC found.

Providers could also be concentrating on people more likely to generate payment, the committee warned. It recommends the DWP identifying why financial incentives have not been succeeding.

Margaret Hodge, chair of the committee, said: “It is shocking that, of the 9,500 former incapacity benefit claimants referred to providers, only 20 people have been placed in a job that has lasted three months, while the poorest-performing provider did not manage to place a single person in the under-25 category into a job lasting six months.”

But a spokesman for the DWP said: “This report paints a skewed picture. More than 200,000 people have moved off benefits and into a job thanks to the Work Programme.

“It is making a real difference to tens of thousands of the hardest-to-help jobseekers. Long-term unemployment fell by 15,000 in the latest quarter.

“The Work Programme gives support to claimants for two years and it hasn't even been running that long yet, so it's still early days. We know the performance of our providers is improving.”

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