Work Programme 'is giving least help to worst off' and failing single parents

 

Private companies who win government contracts to help the jobless find work are “parking” some of the most disadvantaged people on benefits, MPs warn today.

The Work and Pensions Select Committee said the flagship Work Programme, which pays private firms and voluntary groups by results, risks leaving the hardest to help with little or no support. 

Although contracts are designed to give the providers an incentive to get the long-term unemployed into work, they are not having this effect in practice, MPs believe. An inquiry by the MPs found that the scheme’s poor performance in its first 14 months had improved for mainstream jobseekers but that the hardest to help remained at risk of being “parked”.

Dame Anne Begg, the committee’s Labour chairman, said the Government must ensure the scheme is effective  for all unemployed people – not just those who are the easiest to help. “The Work Programme has proved much less successful to date in addressing the problems faced by jobseekers who face more serious obstacles to finding a job – people with disabilities, homeless people, and those with a history of drug or alcohol abuse. It is clear that the differential pricing structure is not a panacea for tackling creaming [off the easiest cases] and parking,” she said.

Under payment by results, the firms and voluntary groups receive small, advance fees and are paid much more when jobless people remain in work for 13 or 26 weeks within a two-year period. Fees are bigger for those on incapacity benefit than those on jobseeker’s allowance.

The committee calls on the Government to consider moving away from the current pricing model based on the benefit claimed to a much more individualised, needs-based system. It also calls for a £248m underspend on the programme – because of  “under-performance” by providers – to be ploughed back into helping disabled job-hunters.

Figures published last November showed that the programme got off to a slow start in its first 14 months, with only 3.2 per cent of those entering keeping jobs. But new figures next month are expected to show that its performance has improved.

The Department of Work and Pensions said last night: “According to industry figures, already more than 207,000 people have been helped into a job through the Work Programme by the end of September 2012 and performance is clearly improving. The payment-by-results model goes further than any previous scheme to encourage providers to help all claimants, including the hardest to help. The key point is they earn the majority of their payment for helping someone into work and keeping them there.”

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the charity Scope, said: “It is absurd that disabled people who face the biggest barriers to employment are receiving the least amount of support. No wonder so few are actually finding jobs through the Work Programme.”

Liam Byrne, the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said:  “This report is fresh evidence that Iain Duncan Smith and David Cameron are failing the test they set themselves in opposition. Unemployment is rising in three quarters of Britain’s poorest estates and now we know why – the Work Programme is simply not working for them.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager - Software House - PRINCE2, PMP

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A dynamic, customer oriented Pr...

Recruitment Genius: Relationship Sales Advisor

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an inbound relationship...

Recruitment Genius: Electrician - Based in Petersfield

£19600 - £25800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in the South, based in ...

Guru Careers: Trainer / IT Trainer

£30 to £32k : Guru Careers: We are seeking a Trainer / IT Trainer to join an a...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate