The ‘confidential’ documents which bungling A4e managed to publish in full view on the internet, reveal that Work Programme Providers can be paid up to £13 thousand pounds just for accepting a referral.
A memo from A4e to their sub-contractors explains what they should do: “should a claimant receive an offer of a job between their Work Programme referral interview, and prior to attachment. “
Claimants do not formally begin Work Programme until they are ‘attached’ to a provider. After being referred by the Job Centre the claimant will usually have an information session with the provider, where they will formally be accepted onto the Work Programme. Some form of activity, probably initially some shite ‘Back to Work’ or Job Search training, will be arranged. After this interview the provider can record that the claimant has been ‘attached’ to Work Programme, for which they get paid.
However the vast bulk of the payment comes should the claimant find and stay in a job. The memo reveals that if a claimant is referred to Work Programme, but then find themselves a job before they start on any Work Programme provision, then providers can still claim a successful job outcome fee:
“3. If you are notified that a claimant has a date to start work you can engage with the claimant and attach them (as in chapter 4 of the Work Programme provider guidance), up to and including the day before they actually start work. You should offer them any support they require to assist in them taking up the employment for example clothing, initial travel expenses etc.
4. In these circumstances you will be eligible for the attachment fee and any subsequent outcome / sustainment payments in line with current award criteria.“
Work Programme providers are paid more the longer the claimant stays in work. This means that providers in some circumstances could claim a whopping £13,000 if someone finds themself a job before starting Work Programme and then stays in it for two years. All the provider has done for this cash is have a short meeting with the claimant, which could even have been a group session.
You can hardly blame the likes of A4e and increasingly money grabbing charities for exploiting loopholes in the guidance like this. It’s good business after all.
The fault lies directly with the DWP and the ministers responsible. With ever more public services being privatised it begs the question how much more of our money is being handed over to private companies simply for doing fuck all? And except for when muppets like A4e manage to leak their own sensitive information on the internet, would we ever even find out?