Share

MPs hear evidence of Work Programme failures from charities

MPs hear evidence of Work Programme failures from charities
News

MPs hear evidence of Work Programme failures from charities2

Finance | Jonathan Last | 30 Jan 2013

The handover of unemployed people from JobCentres to Work Programme providers is a flawed process, several charities told a cross-party group of MPs today.

The Commons Work and Pensions Committee met this morning to take evidence from Crisis, Drugscope, Mind, Scope and Single Parent Action Network about their service users' experieinces of the Work Programme.

The unanimous view from the charities was that the handover of clients from JobCentre Plus to the Work Programme is not working as well as it should. The feeling in the room was summarised by an exchange  between Glenda Jackson MP and Paul Anders, senior policy officer at Drugscope where Jackson asked: “Are you saying that unemployed people are not receiving the tailored service from the Work Programme that the government has promised?”

Anders replied: “No, they are not.”

Other problems identified included the lack of time available to JobCentre Plus and Work Programme employees to spend with their clients; their skills and training, and communication between departments and the two bodies.

Not a positive experience

Sophie Corlett, Mind’s head of external relations, said that some of its members find their route back to work to be a “bullying” situation, where sanctions are the first thing on the agenda – an atmosphere within which those low on confidence were unlikely to flourish. 

“The public’s expectation is that the Work Programme will help you find work,” she said. “The reality is that it doesn’t make our service users feel more positive and hopeful in their search for employment.”

Crisis’ director of policy and external affairs Duncan Shrubsole said that in his experience, Work Programme practitioners actually give quite a standardised, generic service and do not understand the particular needs and issues of – in the case of his charity – homeless people.

“There is a lack of training on the ground at JobCentre Plus, and poor communication between them and their Work Programme colleagues,” he said. “Not enough time is taken to assess an individual’s needs.”

Shrubsole added that sometimes service users were unaware that they had even been moved on to the Work Programme, and that referrals were often lower than promised.

Voluntary sector bolstering the programme

He also speculated that voluntary organisations are partly funding the Work Programme, by still running their own back-to-work initiatives to make up for the inefficiency of the Programme – and not getting paid any extra for doing so.

Meanwhile, Anders revealed that he had heard anecdotal accounts of JobCentre Plus staff not actively promoting the Work Programme.

However, Laura Dewar, senior policy & parliamentary officer at Single Parent Action Network, did have some encouraging words to mix into the general negativity. She pointed to examples of three single parents she knew who were given an “imaginative” service by the Work Programme from staff who did “amazing things”.

Acevo launched a review of the Work Programme last November, after the scheme was heavily criticised for failing to get people back into long-term work.

Figures had been released revealing that only 3.5 per cent of the 878,000 people who took part in the Programme until July 2012 had found work lasting more than six months. This fell short of the government’s 5.5 per cent target.

For a chance to win your choice of either our full Chief Execs subscription package or £100 of Amazon vouchers, tell us about your finance team here.
 

Elaine
31 Jan 2013

Just took my daughter to her initial mandatory meeting on the Work programme.....the advisor couldn't even be bothered to turn up, would not answer telephone and couldn't be bothered to let her know she wouldn't be there. Daughter has complained to Jobcentre but now she is terrified that she will be sanctioned for a failed meeting that was not her fault. Not exactly meeting the service standard the providers are supposed to provide.

Jenny
30 Jan 2013

The DWP's Work Programme is not fit for purpose. In the majority of cases, it is just used as an opportunity for 'providers' such as A4e to rake it in at the expense of the taxpayer. It does not surprise me at all that people with particular barriers to work, such as disabilities or mental health problems, are not getting the help and support they deserve.

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

Falling rag prices likely to cost charities tens of millions

1 Sep 2014

Charities are likely to lose tens of millions of pounds this year from a fall in the price of recycled...

Over 145 charities receive donations from #icebucketchallenge through JustGiving

1 Sep 2014

Over 145 individual charities have benefited from donations made as a result of the ice bucket challenge,...

Supermarkets donate profits from #icebucketchallenge to MND Association

29 Aug 2014

Tesco has announced that it will donate the profits made from an increase in sales of ice to the Motor...

Changemakers becomes part of Foyer Federation

1 Sep 2014

Youth charity Changemakers has merged into the Foyer Federation to scale-up its youth leadership projects,...

Sky News anchor accuses Barnardo's chief of fence-sitting over Rotherham scandal

1 Sep 2014

Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan refused to call for the resignation of South Yorkshire Police...

Former Awema chief executive cleared of two counts of fraud

1 Sep 2014

The former chief executive of the Welsh race relations charity, Awema, was cleared of two counts of fraud...

Over 145 charities receive donations from #icebucketchallenge through JustGiving

1 Sep 2014

Over 145 individual charities have benefited from donations made as a result of the ice bucket challenge,...

EU data protection proposals would kill fundraisers’ mailing lists, says report

28 Aug 2014

Proposed EU data protection rules could destroy mailing lists relied on by charity fundraisers, and would...

Macmillan: We did not hijack #icebucketchallenge

21 Aug 2014

Macmillan has hit back against accusations on social media that it has hijacked #icebucketchallenge, saying...

Join the discussion

 Twitter button

@CSFinance