London Councils analyses the performance of the Work Programme
The Work Programme (WP), which began in June 2011, is the government’s flagship employment programme and aims to support long term unemployed people back into work. The government awarded the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) £5 billion to deliver the WP over a 5 year period until 2016. The programme aims to:
- help the most vulnerable, long-term claimants back into the labour market
- transfer the financial risk from the taxpayer to companies via a ‘payment by results’ model.
Every adult who has been claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) for 12 months or longer is mandated onto the WP. People with particular challenges to getting a job such as disabled people, people with physical and mental health problems and ex-offenders can be referred to the programme earlier. DWP pays providers for a sustained job outcome that reflects the difficulty of helping long-term claimants back into work - six months or more for most JSA claimants, or three months for those with particular challenges to getting a job.
Operational delivery of the programme in London has been contracted to six Prime providers. Three are located in West London Contract Package Area (CPA) and three in East London CPA.
Overall there has been an improvement in the performance of the Work Programme. However significant underperformance in the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimant group (often made up of those individuals with the most barriers to gaining work) is a cause for concern.
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