27 Nov 2012

Work Programme results: the long wait is over

The government has finally released the first official results of its Work Programme – the controversial payment by results scheme which sees private companies and charities charged with the task of getting the unemployed back to work.

When it was launched back in 2011 it was lauded as a “revolution” in welfare to work.

The question is: how many have sustainable jobs?

So, the key figures to look out for are how many people on the programme have actually got what are known as “sustainable” jobs, that’s work which has lasted for three or six months, depending on the individual’s status within the programme.

It’s only then that the crucial sustainment payments are triggered to the programme providers – companies like, Ingeus and Serco alongside a raft of smaller voluntary organisations.

While we don’t know for certain what the figures will say – the government has delayed their release a couple of times since the summer – here at Channel 4 News we have seen results for A4e, one of the biggest work programme contractors.

We saw a leak of year-end figures and they were failing to meet the government’s minimum target of finding 5.5 per cent of the clients on their books sustainable work.

Sometimes only three in 100 clients has long-term work

In some areas the company was only finding three in 100 clients long term work.

The company and the Department for Work and Pensions have always insisted the figures we broadcast were misleading and incomplete and that we should wait for their official numbers. Well the wait is nearly over.

It’s fair to say that expectations are being managed with talk from within the department suggesting that despite having set targets for the first 12 months, the line now is that a year isn’t really long enough to let the programme bed down and really start delivering.
A clause in providers’ contracts warning them that they could lose market share if they don’t meet minimum targets won’t apparently be triggered until some time next year.

So after the long wait, it may just be a question of business as usual for the companies and regroups more importantly for those people desperate to get back to work. But behind the scenes there’s little doubt that unimpressive results tomorrow will be more than a worry for the government.

It has staked a lot on this particular “revolution”. It needs it to deliver.

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20 reader comments

  1. Solomon Hughes says:

    Prospects, the contractor behind the Jubilee Stewards scandal when trainees were left sleeping under a bridge, are , unsurprisingly, one of the worst performers. When Ofsted inspected their pre Work Programme schemes, they found “Achievements, standards and the quality of provision are inadequate. Leadership and management are inadequate, as is quality improvement.” , and “low job outcome rates” and “insufficient programme planning to meet individual participants’ needs.” So no surprise they are performing badly. It’s only Iain Duncan Smith’s obsession with privatisation that got them the job.

  2. John says:

    If the figures don’t underline that the programme has failed then the figures will have been massaged.

  3. Groc says:

    People need to wake up to the fact that all these various work programmes through the years have only ever done is provide work for the people running them. Think about for even one minute – if the people in charge of these schemes were really actually any good at finding proper jobs – wouldn’t they be off in those jobs themselves? Not only that but around the world similar schemes show that fraud is always systemic in these programmes – it’s in no way unique to the UK. So in summary the results shown here are no better than if the unemployed were left to their own devices to find work on their own, and a vast amount of taxpayer’s money has ended up in the bank accounts of private companies. Money that could have paid for proper training and up to date qualifications for the unemployed which would have given them a far better chance of getting them a job – rather than the current sustained bullying disguised as ‘help’.

    1. Steven says:

      Precisely, but let us not beat-up the increasingly brain-dead morons of the Tory Party about this. After all, it was the Labour Party under the war criminal Tony Blair who started this rubbish off in the first place. The Tories have just added their own special degree of sheer nastiness and idiotic incompetance to the brew. I, myself, left David Blunkett’s so-called New Deal and haven’t returned to the job centre since as I am not prepared to be bullied by the sort of morons you meant on these failed schemes.

  4. David says:

    If there was a job in the first place then the company should interview and employ that person so they are paying tax etc, not compel them to work unpaid and give the money to private companies. It is not ‘experience’ to be doing exactly the same job as someone employed for months unpaid. A racket preying on the weakest in society?

  5. parry hotter says:

    2.5%. Outrageous!!!

  6. Robert Taggart says:

    Happy to have avoided this nonsense – thus far – though the DWP do keep insisting there be nothing wrong (health wise) with us.

    Hey-ho, after three WCA (Work Capability Assessments) – each giving us 0 / ZERO, points, plus three unsuccessful appeals – it be back to putting in another claim for ESA (Employment Support Allowance).


  7. Gill says:

    The BBC say that the “official success rate” is 3.53%. A month ago, Channel 4 News discovered that A4E’s success rate was about 3.6%. Therefore the Channel 4 News coverage on 24 & 25 October 2012 was entirely accurate and justified, despite the hysterical protestations by Emma Harrison, the main owner of A4E.

  8. Obi Wan says:

    On Sky News this morning in the newspsaper review, Eamon Holmes and Michelle Dewbury highlighted the fact that the Work Programme Private Providers are only are only getting one person in seven into work, Michelle who went to one of these Providers to see what they acually do asked them in a meeting:

    What is your ultimate goal?

    Their Answer was: To make profit.

    So there you have it, proof that their not in it to get anybody jobs.

  9. Brennan says:

    Comparing the figures out today with the DWP report on Flexible New Deal…this is even worse.

  10. Steven says:

    NONE of these programmes will ever work if REAL JOBS aren’t out there in our economy. If I can understand this when I only have a GCSE pass in Economics then why can’t supposedly better-educated government and shadow government ministers?

  11. Obi Wan says:

    Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling said if the Private Providers don’t meet their minimum targets of 5.5 per cent they would terminate their contracts with the DWP.

    The Work Programme has now been running for 1.5 years that’s enough time to evaluate any programme and in that time the Private Providers haven’t even hit their bare minimum of 5.5 per cent, they’ve only hit 3.53 per cent, subsiquentley they should all be shutdown as promised by the DWP.

  12. Sutter's Mill says:

    Actually the figure of 3.6% is over 14 months, over the first year it is more like 2.5%. So claimants left to their own job search are twice as successful as those given the ‘extra’ help.

    Wonderful to see yet another Tory policy successfully redistributing wealth.

  13. Anthony Makara says:

    Labour’s New Deal saw providers rake in Billions while at the same time Youth Unemployment rose to 20% plus. The current government is equally guilty of wasting Billions of taxpayers money on providers who are not delivering. It would be far better if the money being spent on these providers was used to set up waged work programmes run through MBCs to provide an actual guarantee of work for the young and long-term unemployed. Ever since Government embraced ideological Welfare-to-Work schemes it has wasted Billions and at the same time has been able to avoid the responsibility for resolving unemployment by paying others to do its thinking. Its time for Government to take a direct role in responding to joblessness through rotating waged public works programmes built into the benefits system.

  14. Philip says:

    Utter incompetence & wishful thinking. Why would anyone expect any work programme to be particularly successful during George Osborne’s double dip recession? The only explanation must be a blind faith that private sector companies will deliver where public servants can’t because of the commercial motivation – apparently in wilful ignorance of the lack of success of schemes like this in the past. I suspect that the money wasted on flaky companies like A4E had been retained in DWP, they would have done at least as well, if not better – because their commitment was to get people into jobs not to make money.

  15. Obi Wan says:

    At last count there were 880,000 on the work programme, you might also want to ask the DWP how many people have been sanctioned, it was reported earlier this week that it was more than had acually got jobs.

    The Work Programme – One big sanctioning machine.

  16. james says:

    Don’t some point soon, the contractors stop/greatly reduce getting a payment at the start of the process for people signing on with them?This must bring into question how they can afford to run quality operations or even viable one going forward.

    The other really interesting questions has to be, how many of people would be expected to get a job without the intervention of the Work Programme?

  17. The Purple Goon says:

    How the hell can these ‘providers’ make even the slightest dent in the numbers of the jobless when (a) they adopt the old ‘one size fits all’ approach. (b) There is NO money for DECENT training. (c) They are staffed by wide boys and bitches, who have about as much compassion and vim about them as a fly in the bloody air. If we Jobseekers stand together, and refuse to be pushed ANY MORE by this shower ‘O shite, then they will have an unworkable dinosaur on their hands, which will be heading rapidly for extinction.

  18. c says:

    I have been on the Work Programme,with A4E,since June 2011.The claims made by IDS and Grayling that support is tailor made to each jobseeker,is totally false.Everyone is treated the same no matter what their level of work experience or employment history.The “training” on offer consists of basic CV writing,interview techniques and basic numeracy/literacy,useful only for a school leaver with no qualifications or someone with little or no work experience,useless if you do not fit into this limited “one fits all” criteria.If you ask about any more advanced training or qualifications you are constantly told that there is no funding for training.This is particularly galling when you are aware of the large profits A4E has made for offering so relatively little.All the other providers offer the same level of poor support yet are still being awarded with obscene profits.
    IDS constantly praising the Work Programme,especially after today,is totally indefensible.

  19. jason says:

    What a money making scam,dont work and never will but there take as much tax payers money as they can and get away with it.

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