Work Programme has supported 450,000 into work

22 September 2015

The latest Government statistics on the Work Programme, which were published this week, have revealed that over 450,000 people, who have entered the programme since it began in June 2011, have found sustained work.

The main findings of the latest data are:

• Around 1.76 million people have joined the Work Programme, of which a little under one and a half thousand were claiming Universal Credit. Over a quarter of those with sufficient time to do so spent at least six months in work (or three for the harder to help); 459,000 individuals in total.

• Around 1.3 million individuals have completed their allotted time on the scheme. Of those completing the programme, approaching a quarter were still in work at the two year point (or providers had received the maximum payments). Around 7 in 10 returned to Jobcentre plus.

• The 18 to 24 year old JSA claimant group is showing its highest ever levels for the three latest monthly intakes. The other JSA group has fallen since the last quarter.

• Minimum performance levels have been exceeded for each contract over the past twelve months.

• Results against the Department’s transparency measure have continuously improved since the start of the programme. This measure applies to all claimant types. Overall levels at the 12 month point are now more than twice those of the earliest joiners. The latest three claimant intakes to complete a year on the scheme (April, May and June 2014) show the highest ever levels, well above minimum expectation.

The figures have been celebrated as further evidence that the Government’s welfare to work ambitions are making real and sustained progress. Kirsty McHugh, ERSA Chief Executive, welcomed the latest figures:

‘The Work Programme is motoring. Approaching three quarters of a million long term unemployed jobseekers have now found work on the scheme, with over 450,000 now in sustained work. These figures are set to grow, showing that good quality employment support changes lives.’

However, these latest numbers coincide with research by mental health charity Mind which found that the Government’s flagship Work Programme is negatively impacting on the mental health of those taking part whilst also making them less able to work. 83 percent of those surveyed said the scheme had contributed to a worsening of their mental health whilst 76 percent said the Work programme had made reduced their confidence to work.

The charity has called for an overhaul of the system, with an alternative model offered for those with mental health problems. Mind claim that a support system which focuses on tailored, personalised support whilst reducing pressure on participants would produce much better outcomes: in terms of participant welfare, job results and programme cost.