Work Programme: more than 168,000 people escape long-term unemployment

Published on Thursday, 26 September 2013 13:49
Written by Sinead Fynes Black

Latest published figures show over 168,000 jobseekers have escaped long-term unemployment and found lasting work through the Work Programme.

More than 168,000 jobseekers have escaped long-term unemployment and found lasting work – normally at least 6 months – through the Work Programme, an increase of 37,000 in 3 months, new figures published today (26 September 2013) show.

The figures, which show Work Programme performance up to the end of June 2013, also show that the vast majority of these – 149,000 people – have then gone on to work for an average of another 6 months.

Work Programme performance is significantly improving since being launched in June 2011 to give tailored help to people who have already been out of work for some time, or are in danger of becoming long-term unemployed. After the first 12 months of the scheme, 24,000 had found lasting work. By June 2013 this had increased dramatically to 168,000

Work Programme providers get paid the majority of their money when someone has stayed in work for 6 months, or 3 months for some of the hardest to help, so today's figures don't tell the whole story. Many more people have started work but not reached the 6 month point yet. Industry figures published last week showed that 384,000 people had started a job thanks to the Work Programme.

Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said:

"Previous schemes didn't provide the right support for the long-term unemployed and offered poor value for money for the taxpayer. We launched the Work Programme to tackle this so people got the help they needed to find a job and, crucially, given support to stay in work.

"Today's figures show that large numbers of people previously at risk of long-term unemployment are finding a job and staying in work for 6 months and more. This gives people hope that they can achieve their aspiration of looking after themselves and their families."

The Work Programme gives at least 2 years of tailored support for some of the hardest to help jobseekers. Only those who joined in the first few weeks of the scheme will have completed the full 2 years, so the majority of jobs have been achieved before anyone had finished the Work Programme.

Nearly a quarter of the people who joined the Work Programme right at the beginning – many of whom had been out of work for over a year when the scheme began – have had at least 6 months in work (or 3 for the very hardest to help).

But performance also continues to show improvement, with those people joining the scheme more recently more likely to spend more time off benefit than those who joined in the first few months.

Unlike the short-term job focus of previous schemes the Work Programme is about keeping people in work. Providers are incentivised to keep people in work past the 3 or 6 month point and up to June 2013, nearly 1 million 'sustainment payments' had been made for 149,000 people. This is the equivalent of 4 million extra weeks' work beyond outcome payment, or an extra 6 months in a job per person.

Work Programme providers have improved significantly, but we have always been clear that, while many Work Programme providers are performing well, others are lagging behind. That is why, in order to drive up performance, help as many people into work as possible, and give the best value to the taxpayer, from August this year we began referring more claimants to the better performing providers.

By the end of June 2013, 1.14 million people had been referred to the Work Programme and been on it for long enough to count in today's employment performance figures.

Source: DWP

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