Flagship Government job scheme slammed as less than 4pc in Plymouth find work
A FLAGSHIP government jobs scheme that has seen less than four per cent of those taking part in Plymouth find long-term work has been blasted by a spending watchdog for its “extremely poor” performance.
Figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions showed that of 4,070 people in the city who had started the Work Programme since its launch, only 150 had stayed in employment for six months or more.
This represents just 3.7 per cent and fell far short of the minimum government target of 5.5 per cent, and the official five per cent estimate of what would have happened if the programme did not exist.
And data for the 14 months from June 2011 to July 2012 showed Cornwall fared worse. Just 120 people in the county out of 4,380 found a job for six months or more (2.7 per cent of those on the programme). In the South Hams, it was 20 out of 380 (5.3 per cent).
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Nationally, figures showed only 3.6 per cent of those taking part – 31,000 out of nearly 900,000 – had found sustainable jobs.
The scheme was launched back in June 2011, at an estimated cost of between £3 billion and £5 billion over five years, with the aim of getting the long-term unemployed back into work.
Under the scheme, approved providers including firms and charities try to find work for claimants on a payment-by-results basis. In Devon and Cornwall, it is Prospect Services & Working Links.
Organisations can earn between £3,700 and £13,700 per person, depending how hard it is to help an individual, with an initial payment of between £400 and £600. The Government argues it is “early days” and the programme was succeeding in getting people off benefits and into work.
But the influential Commons Public Accounts Committee said its initial performance “fell well short” of official expectations.
None of the 18 providers had met their minimum performance targets, and the MPs said those failing should be held to proper account. In a report, the cross-party group also warned that, given the poor performance, there was a high risk that one or more providers will fail and go out of business or have their contracts cancelled.
The committee said it shared concerns that providers are concentrating on people more likely to generate a fee, and sidelining jobless clients who require more time and investment, a process known as “creaming and parking”.
Committee chairman Margaret Hodge, who chairs the committee, said: “The Work Programme is absolutely crucial for helping people, especially the most vulnerable, get into and stay in work. However, its performance so far has been extremely poor.
“In fact, performance was so poor that it was actually worse than the Department’s own expectations of the number of people who would have found work if the programme didn’t exist.”
A DWP spokesman said: “This report paints a skewed picture. 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. Previous schemes paid out too much up front regardless of success, but by paying providers for delivering results, the Work Programme is actually offering the taxpayer real value for money.”