Work programme - not working


Standby for data which will show that the government's work programme is, well, not working. One senior Whitehall figure described it to me as a "failure"

The work programme was part of what ministers called a revolution in welfare. It paid private companies by results in order to get the long term unemployed back to work.

A minimum target was set for those firms. They should get sustainable jobs for 5 in 100 job seekers. For months there has been speculation that they will miss that figure as stories have emerged of charities and firms involved with the scheme hitting financial problems, with some going bust.

I am told that the figure - which will come out at 9.30 this morning - will, in fact, be around 3%. The 5% target was what the Treasury calls the deadweight cost. In other words, the stats will suggest, as many unemployed are getting sustainable jobs as if the Work Programme had never existed.

The government will, nevertheless, not accept that their scheme is a failure. One well placed source has claimed that it is still "on track" and here's why:

- they claim that the Work Programme is taking longer than expected to succeed but argue that the next set of figures will be better. It is, they say, taking contractors longer and, sometimes, several placements to find sustainable work for the unemployed. They point to figures released last night by ESRA - the trade body which represents the 18 prime contractors - which works with the government on the Work Programme which suggest that, since the scheme was launched in June last year, more than 200,000 people have been found a job after 800,000 attachments

Updated: Apologies for saying in the original post - now corrected - that people do not get benefit when on the Work Programme.

Ministers claim that they are meeting their "off benefit targets" and that they are saving money too. The cost of every job secured under their Work Programme is, they say, just over £2,000 compared with a cost of almost £7,500 under Labour's Future New Deal because the contractors are only paid 60% of their fee once someone is in a sustainable job: ie for six months.

Labour says that today's figures show that the government is failing the long term unemployed at a time when the numbers without work long term have risen by 200,000 over the past year.

You pays yer money and you....

Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 382.

    I didnt say I didnt want to discuss it lefty just that it is a complete waste of time trying to discuss anything with you & your mates on the left because as we all know, the left is right and the right is wrong, lalalalalalalafingersinmyearsIcanthearyouIcanthearyouIcanthearyou.

    What I actually said is Ive got better things to waste my precious few hours on this earth doing and that remains true.

  • rate this

    Comment number 381.

    373. Steve_M-H
    I challenge your point and provide evidence that it has no foundation. The research I quote is independent and highly respected by both sides of the debate. You however call it a quango. Then you are unable to provide any evidence for your propoganda. And then finally you declare you don't wish to discuss it anymore. My advice mate. Don't post rubbish in the first place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 380.

    I'm a single mum on JSA, i have been on a work programme for 14mths,i am on my 3rd advisor,not one of them have helped me find a job,every job i have applied for i have found myself,every interview i got myself & i had 1 advisor that would take all the jobs i had job searched for & copy them for her other clients, so had to compete with her other clients, much more to say but not enough space.

  • rate this

    Comment number 379.

    I think someone stole my book on TCP/IP.

  • rate this

    Comment number 378.

    AndyC 375
    ;o)) knowingly.
    But getting bacl on topic. Would you lay out money to achieve something when not laying out any money would have achieved more. You don't need to be a 'Dragon' to figure this makes no sense. BTW I wonder what amusingly appropriate pen names we could come up with for you.
    Darth eVader? Suggestions anyone?.

  • rate this

    Comment number 377.


    "Decency? have a look at a decent dictionary."

    Presumably if it was "Indecency?", we'd have to look at an Indecent dictionary.

  • rate this

    Comment number 376.

    14 Minutes ago


    26 Minutes ago
    No363 Andy,

    "Harry Hill" ..... FIGHT

    (Excuse me for omiting the "in the Left Corner/Right Corner" stuff
    I didin't want to introduce politics into Boxing)

  • rate this

    Comment number 375.

    Idont Believeit
    "His figures re tax are usualll accurate, while possibly misleading"

    Misleading? Me? You'll accuse me next of being economical with the truth when I write to HMRC.

    As for "Toryboy". Honestly, being accused of being a novice by someone so immature they chose such a childish name-tag on here. Hardly an insult I'll worry about, is it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 374.

    ToryBoy 370
    Coming on a bit strong there TB. Cut Andy some slack. His figures re tax are usualll accurate, while possibly misleading, and when it comes to politics his 'clowning' around is sometimes quite humorous. At least it makes me laugh. ;o)

  • rate this

    Comment number 373.


    You havent given me factual analysis at all mate, youve just pointed to an inconclusive study! We could trade these kind of quango based studies all day and he who pays the piper decides whose axe gets ground. And even if I did find something youd just ram your fingers in your ears and refuse to acknowledge it. Frankly, Ive got better things to do than bash my head off the brick wall of you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 372.



    Never thought I'd see a rival for the puffed up windbaggery of Lefty11 but seems I was wrong.

    Even your insults are badly worded. ",or at least certainly implied," should follow after "told us". Still, at least what you've written adds weight to those who support the "infinite number of monkeys typing at a typewriter" theory.

    Would you like a banana?

  • rate this

    Comment number 371.


    Spellling Ed's surname wrong - that's bad"

    Perhaps you could learn to spell (and use) "Tories" rather then clinging to your sadly pathetic "clown" insult?

    Put you in a slightly better position to pick people up on spelling mistakes.

    Only slightly better, mind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 370.

    No363 Andy,
    You have told us on many occasions that you are, or at least certainly implied, a financial genius, specialising in what even 'Pasty George' tells us is 'morally repugnant' tax avoidance schemes. That may or may not be the case. However, what is not beyond doubt is that you are, and likely to continue to be, a political novice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 369.


    Spellling Ed's surname wrong - that's bad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 368.

    367.Mr Loser
    4 Minutes ago
    800000 people have entered scheme - that's good.
    200000 have got a job - that's good.
    Number that stay in a job longer term is growing - that's good.
    Yes it is good, political postering & spin aside
    The real questions are:
    ~ Is it value for money
    ~ Are providers suitably equiped
    ~ Are providers making a "real" difference

    WP is more than "Job Seeking"

  • rate this

    Comment number 367.

    800000 people have entered this scheme - that's good.
    200000 have got a job - that's good.
    The number that stay in a job longer term is growing - that's good.

    Of course Ed [something for nothing] Milliband can't see that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 366.

    359. Steve_M-H
    More hot air again Steve. Lets See if i can pin you down to a more serious conversation. You claim that there are jobs being created but its not being felt on the ground because they are being taken up by immigrants. I have given factual analysis that this claim is more propaganda than fact. Now you produce yours to the contrary. Tick tock.

  • rate this

    Comment number 365.

    364.Jane Ann Liston
    7 Minutes ago
    I've been on the Work Programme for 4 months.
    It's clearly geared towards entry-level employment.
    I am 56 with many years experience, it's a waste of my time.
    There are specialist advise and guidance agencies who offer help to more senior/proffesional type job seekers. I'm on JSA but was refered to:

  • rate this

    Comment number 364.

    I've been on the Work Programme for 4 months. It's clearly geared towards entry-level employment. As I am 56 with many years experience, it's a waste of my time; the providers have admitted I'm doing all I can. It's even been suggested I 'play down' my qualifications or remove the dates from my CV, to avoid age discrimination. The real problem, resolutely ignored by all, is too few vacancies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 363.


    By that simplistic analysis, anyone keeping any income above the bare minimum required for survival lacks decency whilst a single child starves in the 3rd world.

    I look forward to your confirmation that you have sold your worldly goods and are off to Africa to help out as an unpaid charity worker.

    Or maybe your surplus income is a 'special case'. Yes. That'll be it.


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