Statistics do nothing to reduce fear that work programme is failing harder to help jobseekers, says Dame Anne Begg
Responding to the publication today of Work Programme outcome statistics, Dame Anne Begg, Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, said: “My Committee’s recent Report concluded that the Work Programme, as currently contracted, had the potential to work well for mainstream jobseekers but was unlikely to be sufficient to address the problems faced by the most disadvantaged long-term unemployed people. Today’s statistics bear this out.
“The data show an improving general picture, with the monthly cohorts of participants who have most recently completed a year on the programme achieving more job outcomes.
“However, today’s statistical release does nothing to reduce the fear that the Work Programme is failing to reach harder to help jobseekers.
"Just 5.3% of Employment and Support Allowance participants referred to the Work Programme in year 2 achieved sustained job outcomes. This is against the Government’s contractual minimum performance benchmark of 16.5%.
“We remain deeply concerned that the Work Programme, as currently designed, is insufficient to tackle the problems faced by more disadvantaged jobseekers.
“My Committee’s Report made a number of recommendations for improving the support on offer to disadvantaged jobseekers over the course of the current Work Programme contracts. In the longer term, fundamental changes to the differential pricing structure are required. I urge the Government to carefully consider our Report. Doing nothing and hoping things improve is no longer an option.”