£60,000 A Job – The Shocking Cost of the Work Programme For Sickness Benefit Claimants

a4e-poverty-pimpsDespite the alleged ‘payment by results’ model much hyped by Iain Duncan Smith, tax payers could have paid out up to £60,000 for every job gained by sickness or disability claimants on the Work Programme.

Whilst much of the attention this week has been focused on the appalling job entry rates for those on mainstream unemployment benefits, the performance figures for those on sickness or disability benefits has received less scrutiny.

Under the Work Programme, claimants on the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG), are now forced to attend job search sessions or face losing benefits.  This group represent those who have been assessed as being able to work at some point in the future and therefore not eligible for full sickness or disability benefits.

In a damning admission the DWP this week showed that just 1000 people in this group had gained work out of a total of 79,000 people referred to the scheme.  Most of these claimants will have be sent to carry out job search with charities who are sub-contracted to deliver the Work Programme.

Charities share lucrative Work Programme pay outs with the prime contractors, the welfare-to-work parasites such as A4e and G4S who run the scheme.  Each referral to the programme for WRAG claimants comes with a £600 ‘attachment fee’ meaning that around £47.4 million pounds has been paid out so far.

On top of this the providers are paid a job entry fee after the participant has been in work for six months.  They are then paid further fees for up to two years as long as the job lasts.  The maximum that can be paid out for someone who stays in work for two years is £13,720 – the minimum for a job that lasts just six months is £1,200.

This means that between somewhere between £48.6 and £60 million pounds has been handed over to charities and their poverty pimp bosses.  With only 1000 people finding work this works out at a cost of a staggering job outcome cost of between £48,000 and £60,000 pounds each.

The total spend on Work Programme for sickness and disability benefits is around the same as the money saved by the Remploy closures.  Since a small amount of WRAG claimants would have been expected to find work without any help from the Work Programme, it seems this money has simply been flushed down the toilet.

Perhaps most galling of all, some of the money spent has been handed to the very same charities who supported the closure of Remploy such as Mencap.

Under ordinary circumstances this amount of money being spent on providing access to work for those who are disabled or unwell might be seen as a positive step.  Yet all of those in the WRAG group have been signed off work by their own GPs.  With long term unemployment soaring, all the Work Programme has represented is a programme of harassment and benefit sanctions for people unable to work due to illness or disability.  Money that could have Saved Remploy, or the Independent Living Fund, has been squandered by charities and private companies  involved in the Work Programme.

Work Programme charity Scope have been quick to condemn the dreadful Work Programme performance figures.  Yet they themselves are one of the largest charities to profit from the scheme.  Scope claim disabled people need more “tailored and targeted support to find a job and the Work Programme just doesn’t offer them this.”

If Scope haven’t been offering this support then it begs the question of what exactly have these tens of millions of pounds been spent on?  The Government has responded by giving charities the powers to force disabled people to attend full time unpaid workfare.  The very strategy which has been so disastrous for non-disabled unemployed people is now to be inflicted upon people who are unable to work due to sickness or disability.

Whilst some charities, including MIND, and Addaction have announced they will not co-operate with workfare for disabled people, the silence from @scope so far has been deafening.

On December 8th a National Week of Action Against Workfare Charities will take place with protests, pickets and actions already expected in Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham, Brighton, London, Edinburgh and Liverpool.

Service users and supporters are waking up the true motivations of these organisations who have so willingly profited from the most inept and brutal welfare-to-work programme ever devised.  It’s time to hold so called charities to account for their involvement in a scheme that seems to do little more than punish claimants with workfare and benefit sanctions simply for being sick or disabled .

26 responses to “£60,000 A Job – The Shocking Cost of the Work Programme For Sickness Benefit Claimants

  1. It appears this site has been hacked as it will no longer show me the comments on this posting only.

  2. Think its fine, only just been posted,that was the first comment

  3. You could create 3 good jobs with that money, with the employees contributing to society.
    Instead we have this bullshit.

  4. All that plus £71 a week.

  5. How they’re going to increase the numbers of sick and disabled people on the Work programme is by mandating (bullying) them onto it.

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  10. United StereoTypes of Unemployment (U.S.T.U.)

    United StereoTypes of Unemployment (U.S.T.U.)

  11. I am filing all your evidence in support of my attack on IDS. I wish I knew how to persuade you that my ideas could make yours a lot more potent
    look at my 2nd November blog

    • I have heard of that idea, but as you yourself pointed out, CI would be seen by the gutter press as a ‘Scrounger’s Charter’. All these benefit cuts are NOT about anything ‘rational’ they are about a moral crusade – we live in a society of plenty, the idea that somehow there isn’t enough money to pay for all the welfare benefits that existed is a huge lie; there is more than enough to pay for benefits, and plenty more. Sadly, the old Green chestnut of zero growth is not an option – even to create a truly sustainable, ecologically friendly economy requires growth, in order to create the industries that facilitate an ecologically rational economy. (That specifically rules out windfarms, they are neither financially economic, or ecologically sound; it’s just that the subsidies are good, and make it look as if something of substance is being done)

      Personally, I think that something along the lines of CI would be a wonderful idea, and I doubt very much you’d have a lot of trouble convincing the readers of this site of it’s merits. The trick would be to convince, on the one hand, the politicians and business interest groups who have a vested interest in the status quo,and also, perhaps paradoxically, those who have become addicted to the dependency culture, who, when no longer able to access those benefits would probably be more likely to go out and just help themselves to the property of others rather than engage in something like this – so alienated they become as far any idea emanating from the minds of the educated is concerned. Many in this group have suffered at the hands of ‘well meaning do gooders’ and so will be more than a little suspicious about any such scheme that, apparently, gives something for nothing.

      No doubt a CI scheme would introduce an upward pressure on wages, which is why it won’t be a popular idea with employers. It won’t be popular with mainstream socialists either, as it panders more to an individualistic society than the collective kind of society beloved of mainstream, statist socialists, who, in their own way are no better than the Tories they claim to despise. We’d as likely be slave labour under many ‘socialist’ regimes as under the present Tory fiasco.

      This nasty situation has only one viable solution, and that’s a massive spending programme that develops parts of the economy that have so far been ignored, such as developing really sustainable industries that offer long term benefits to both the environment and to the economy. In the context of that kind of change there may be a chance to introduce the idea of CI successfully.

  12. sibrydionmawr

    what would you consider to be sustainable industries? Where I live we have seen the end to ship building, steel production, tin mining, coal mining, middle management sector, retailers of every description are losing ground to on-line selling, decline in manufacturing,the construction industry, reduction in the chemical industries and a run down nuclear power plant. With technology moving so fast everything made yesterday appears obsolete tomorrow.

  13. Same has happened in South Wales Guy Fawkes. There has never been any coal mining in Cardiff, but there was once considerable steel making, which has all now gone.

    The old basic industries cannot compete with the likes of China or India, where the cost of production is far lower. I would suggest that developing the hi tech industry could be very viable. The UK already has quite a stake in this area, though as yet the actual production usually takes place in the Far East, but that is probably due to the lack of production facilities rather than economics. How many are aware that production of the Raspberry Pi computer was shifted from China to South Wales? OK, so that’s only a small example, but there are numerous other examples around the country. There are lots of other sectors that could be developed, such as food production, or research and development into alternative and truly sustainable ways of energy generation, or new ways of heating our homes that use passive means rather than using increasingly expensive gas or oil. The list isn’t exhaustive, and with a little imagination a lot could happen.

    Instead of being as negative as you sound, why not think of a few ideas. OK, so there is no way to achieve a lot of those ideas at the moment, and getting the training and finance to help do that is non existent, which is why we need to get ourselves to a position powerful enough to demand all this from our governments.

    Sadly the UK economy has been allowed to become distorted and too reliant on the financial sector. The present government’s solutions, are, as we all here know, are sheer lunacy, and are almost bound to make things worse. We need to learn from events in Greece, because it may well be that we find ourselves in a similar position.

    Politicians are firstly members of the public whom are either disillusioned with or think they have a better way of how the Country is Governed .They canvass the electorate on their doorsteps and if successful become elected .Once in the Big World of Westminster their disillusionment and own agenda are swallowed up by the Establishment ,if they climb the slippery slope to eventually become a Minister they think they have made the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the Country – how wrong they are .Any Politician with brains is soon put in their place to toe the Party Line .Ministers are just figureheads for the overall agenda that has been in progress for years it has been steadily gathering momentum for its final outcome whomever is in power .Churchill is just one example (Common Market 1950 ).Thatcher another (UNUM 1994).Richard Nixon (Workfare 1969) In the UK today we have career Politicians who are eager to jump on the Gravy Train with no qualifications and no common sense .You have Political Leaders who force their educated ideals upon us ,but incorporating long standing agenda’s ,the Civil Service run the Country ,look at the Rail Fiasco Parliament was on recession when the West coast franchise was awarded to an American company as opposed to Virgin by the Department for Transport and cost the Tax payer dearly .Either lets fully engage with the EU or fully get out ,this Government picks and chooses what part of the EU rules they will endorse and the ones they choose are always to the detriment to UK citizens .We don’t want two sets of incompetent bodies ruling us ,it’s bad enough trying to make one see any sense within their Policies never mind two .

  15. 3rd of December today and I have received a letter from the job centre ordering to to attend an interview to discus my ESA. Im now suicidal and don’t know which way to turn, I feel like attending the job centre with a bomb strapped to my body and detonating it, maybe then peoples attention with be drawn to what’s going on 😦 .

  16. £60,000 per placement? Given that government feel i’m suitable to go back to work (I’m looking forward to hearing their excuse on that one) – hows about giving a disabled HND Graduate (Ex-MBCS) same amount of funding to cover initial costs of business…Call it the Grant I NEVER Got.

  17. Pingback: Is Lord Fraud Laying A Debt Trap For Benefit Claimants? | the void

  18. This payment system has always been the case, it wasn’t something IDS dreamed up when he simply renamed Flexible New Deal – this is exactly how providers were paid under FND. The real scandal is that providers get paid regardless of their input (in many cases, total lack of!) in getting that person the job. They get paid even if that person gets a job off their own back, and there’s the thing – on average less than 10% (it was just 6% in the area I worked in) of jobs are actually sourced by providers. The WP, just like FND before it, is simply one huge quango. In fact, it’s the biggest quango of them all. It’s just a licence for already super-rich private companies to take a very large share of taxpayer funds. I’ve worked in this sector, it’s a disgusting, shameful, parasitic con which should be ended now. Not only that, those involved, especially in Government, should be investigated thoroughly – taking money for doing absolutely nothing? If a plumber did that he’d end up in court wouldn’t he? It’s theft and fraud.

  19. All these Work Programmes get European Social Fund money and the whole programme is dependant on getting it. Loss of that money would stop the programme overnight. Given that it is now apparent that they are worse than no action at all, why are they still getting ESF money? It seems to be a direct violation of Article 2 – of course the DWP runs the ESF within the UK so obviously they’re not going to take any action. A case for judicial review?

    REGULATION (EC) No 1081/2006 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 5 July 2006 on the European Social Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1784/1999 [Article 2 tasks]

    “1. The ESF shall contribute to the priorities of the Community as regards strengthening economic and social cohesion by improving employment and job opportunities, encouraging a high level of employment and more and better jobs. It shall do so by supporting Member States’ policies aiming to achieve full employment and quality and productivity at work, promote social inclusion, including the access of disadvantaged people to employment, and reduce national, regional and local employment disparities.

    In particular, the ESF shall support actions in line with measures taken by Member States on the basis of the guidelines adopted under the European Employment Strategy, as incorporated into the Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs, and the accompanying recommendations.”

  20. £2000 upfront and 1 in 30 getting jobs, tut tut.

  21. Compare what happened with the WPA program of Roosevelts New Deal (From Britannica):
    “During its eight-year existence the WPA put some 8.5 million people to work (over 11 million were unemployed in 1934) at a cost to the federal government of approximately $11 billion.The agency’s construction projects produced more than 650,000 miles (1,046,000 km) of roads; 125,000 public buildings; 75,000 bridges; 8,000 parks; and 800 airports. The Federal Arts Project, Federal Writers’ Project, and Federal Theater Project—all under WPA aegis—employed thousands of artists, writers, and actors in such cultural programs as the creation of art work for public buildings, the documentation of local life, and the organization of community theatres. The WPA also sponsored the National Youth Administration, which sought part-time jobs for young people.”

    There is soo much bad will towards those involved with our Work Program because of the huge waste of resources for little or no return. What business would ever set such a ridiculously low target return of 5% that Westminster accepts as the success benchmark. Any business plan put forward in the commercial world based on this expenditure/return ratio would be considered demented. We cannot even reach 5% which they gave as the “do nothing” employment rate.

    Instead of the extreme bad-will engendered through people being forced to participate in Work Program related stuff which has very little impact at the macro level in terms of generating genuine, fulltime, new productive capacity and employment (and what is seen as benefiting in the main companies like A4e), would it not be better having some form of voluntary program that build socially beneficial things that those who took part in could feel some feeling towards?

  22. John

    When everyone in the country works voluntary and goods and services are not purchased via currency of any description, and this system is worldwide so that the rich cannot skip off to replenish stocks, then I will work for nothing, until then I think it is downright cheek to ask the unemployed to work for nothing. As we are obviously paying the wp providers for none results, nobody should object to the unemployed being given income for basic sustenance.

      At present the Government are debating whether there should be more stringent control over banks ,in a Parliamentary committee today Osborne stated they would look at it next year ,basically dismissing the issue .Why has his attitude to Welfare Reform not had the same response .This Government are at loggerheads with Doctors ,nurses,teachers and anyone working in the public sector especially the police .Our efforts against the draconian cuts are falling on deaf ears ,the police have an Epetition giving them the right to strike ,at present it has 16,778 signatures ,if we give this petition our backing it will make the Government take notice ,they are the only protection between them and us .The Police issue will have a bigger voice then we do on the reforms that are going through no matter what .This Government are using illegal underhand methods to push Welfare Reforms through ,by signing this petition we are backing the next biggest voice to the Government in this country legally. epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/31250 http://www.brokenbritainundertories.com

  23. I don’t find this article very helpful.
    It would be more beneficial to provide a balanced and less aggressive debate so that the public can make their own mind up around the overall cost versus benefit of the work programme.
    The reality is that the larger organisations supporting the easiest to get into work people may well have made money out of the work programme however many smaller organisations went in as second or third tier providers with good intentions.
    Many of these organisations will have made substantial losses on the work programme as they will have had to work with only the most disadvatanged and challenging customers, for whom payments are only a relatively small amount greater however inputs required to successfully progress them to employment are far more intensive and costly.
    The question is whether the providers are actually delivering a service after gaining the attachment fee, if they are then they are probably making a loss for these hard to engage and succeed customers.
    See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17538046
    and http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/tenancies/work-programme-is-failing-hard-to-reach-groups/6525818.article
    So, the moral is, just because it appears clear that the Work Programme is not working and is not a good way to spend tax payers money does not mean that every charity involved is run by “pimps” and making a killing out of the programme, I very very much doubt it and would like to see the evidence that their income outweighs their costs.
    Evidence of high cost per supported individual and few people into work is not evidence that the charities involved have low morals and don’t make money.
    Has anyone ever considered that charities may have wanted to become involved as they wanted to ensure that “big business” was not delivering the only support to the vulnerable people they work with in the same way that the church is considering pay day loans, not because they like the idea but because it is better to work out a way out of the problems we face than sit around complaining and attempting to insight aggression amongst the populous.

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