Work Programme Statistics – March 2016


DWP has published statistics from the beginning of the Work Programme in June 2011 to the end of December 2015. In this data release, we are able to report on the two-year job outcome performance, i.e. whether or not an individual has secured a job outcome during the entire length of time on the programme.

The headline results are:

  • The two-year Job Outcome performance is 26.0%, 2.9 percentage points above DWP’s expectations. This figure is for the whole Work Programme from June 2011 to December 2015.
  • Two-year performance over the whole programme has increased slightly, from 25.7% in the December 2015 release to 26% now.
  • For those completing the programme in the latest two months, two-year performance has risen from around 22% in 2013 to around 31% now.
  • 1.81 million people have been referred to the Work Programme since June 2011.
  • 503,200 people have had a ‘sustained’ job outcome through the Work Programme.
  • ERSA – the Providers Trade Association, report that 772,000 participants have started work – and may eventually get a ‘Job Outcome’.
  • 12.5% of ESA new claimants get a job outcome within two years, below DWP’s expectation of 12.7%. The equivalent figure for ex-IB ESA participants is 4.7%.
  • People with a disability and those aged 50 and over are the least successful in getting a job through the Work Programme.


Duncan Melville, Chief Economist at the Learning and Work Institute commented:

“The latest Work Programme performance figures show that just over one in four programme participants (26.0%) have secured a sustained job outcome. Evaluation evidence has indicated that the programme has performed similarly to those previous programmes it replaced but at a lower cost. Last year’s Spending Review announced that a new Work and Health Programme would replace the Work Programme and Work Choice.

Subsequently, it became clear that funding for this new programme would only be one fifth of the level of funding previously provided for the Work Programme and Work Choice. Yesterday’s Labour Market statistics release and OBR projections have again made clear that this is a mistake that the Government needs to revisit. The labour market already appears to be cooling, and the OBR’s projections are for a rising unemployment rate from around the middle of next year.

Even with the current unemployment rate of around 5%, we have 2.2 million people who have been on out of work benefits for 2 years or more and 1.6 million who have been on them for 5 years. This is a waste of human potential that needs to be addressed. This requires greater spending on active welfare to work measures to help those suffering long term worklessness to return to work, not 80% cuts in funding.”