The Department for Work and Pensions has today released official statistics covering the performance of the Work programme up to the end of March 2013, showing performance to the end of the second financial year of the Work programme .
The Work programme is designed to help people who are at risk of becoming long-term unemployed. Many of those being supported by the Work programme are in receipt of benefit for nine or 12 months before joining and are then supported over a minimum of two years.
The figures published today show the Work programme has significantly improved. A total of 132,000 jobseekers have escaped long-term unemployment and found lasting work—normally at least six months (three months or more for the hardest to help). This compares to 9,000 for the period up to the end of March 2012—a significant improvement.
The figures also highlight more people are getting into work within a year of joining the Work programme. The UK Statistics Authority has said that it does not regard the calculation by commentators that 3.5% of people got into work in the first year of the scheme as the most relevant figure on which to assess performance. It says that performance is better measured by counting how many people referred to the Work programme get into sustained work in their first year on the scheme on this measure, while just 8.5% of those who started the Work programme in June 2011 completed at least six months of work in their first year, this success rate has increased dramatically to 13.4% for more recent recruits who joined in March 2013.
Compared to many employment schemes under previous Governments, the programme targets the hardest to help into work, such as those claiming employment and support allowance. Some people have been out of work for more than 10 or 15 years, so it will take time to help them back. But the Work programme is offering them more support than previous employment schemes, and 6,000 of the harder to help have now found lasting work. We expect providers to deliver improving results as they share best practice.
Although many providers are now meeting their contracted levels for helping jobseeker’s allowance claimants, some are lagging behind. The Department intends to refer more claimants to better performing providers. We will be implementing market share shift in at least 16 instances. Implementation of these shifts will begin in August.