There’s more bad news for the government today. The Work Programme scheme to help people get back into work has been pretty unsuccessful. In fact, from its launch in June 2011 to July 2012, just 3.6% of people who were referred to the Work Programme got a secure job.
According to a report from the Public Accounts Committee, the actual amount of people who got jobs after the programme was less than a third of what the Department for Work and Pensions had hoped.
The report comes just a few weeks after another of the government’s schemes was ruled unlawful. But the government claims that it’s “early days” for the Work Programme scheme but Labour reckons the Work Programme is “worse than doing nothing”.
Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, said that the scheme is crucial in helping people get off benefits but that, so far, the performance has been “extremely poor”.
The Work Programme was introduced in June 2011 to provide support for jobseekers who need more help in looking for work. The idea is that participants get help in overcoming barriers that stop them from finding and keeping jobs. The help is provided by private companies, who get paid if jobseekers stay in their jobs for three or six months.
None of the providers met the targets that the Department for Work and Pensions had set. And the worst performing provider failed to place a single person under the age of 25 into a job that lasted six months.
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said that the report painted a skewed picture. He said: “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.”
The Public Accounts Committee is calling on the Department for Work and Pensions to take action against providers that are failing jobseekers.