Tag Archives: Work Programme statistics

Number Of Jobs Gained On Work Programme Plummets: Are Benefit Sanctions To Blame?

no-sanctions-placThe latest Work Programme statistics (PDF) show a shocking fall in the number of people gaining work and suggest that being sent on the scheme is now actively harming people’s chance of getting a job.

The figures show that even after spending a year on the Work Programme, only 10.7% of people had gained a job which lasted at least six months.  This is a fall of almost a quarter since last year’s high in April when 14% of people on the programme for a year had found a long term job – figures which were regarded as a disaster at the time.  The Work Programme has been in steady decline ever since, with the percentage of people finding work overall – including those who have completed the full two years of the scheme – at a new low of just under 19%.  This is down from 22.5% just six months ago, and this figure was expected to rise as more people had been on the programme longer.

Astonishingly there is no mention of this dismal performance in the gushing DWP press release which accompanied this week’s statistics.  No longer are the DWP even reporting the job outcome rate, which is the only figure that matters when assessing whether the Work Programme is working.  Instead the Minister for Unemployment Esther McVey claims:

“Over a quarter of a million long-term unemployed people have been helped into a sustained job thanks to the Work Programme – that’s a quarter of a million people who previously might have been written off now with the security of regular wage.”

The DWP would like us to believe that no-one ever got a job without the help of welfare-to-work profiteers like G4S and A4e.  This is of course bollocks, and around 28% of people condemned to the Work Programme would have been expected to find a job under their own steam.  With unemployment allegedly falling, the companies running the Work Programme should be beating this figure by a long way.

Yet consistently the Work Programme has performed worse than doing nothing at all and these figures suggest that the scheme is now hampering  people’s ability to find work.

The secretive nature of the Work Programme means it is difficult to pin point exactly why it is failing so many people.  The so-called ‘black box’ approach means that the private sector providers are given free reign to mandate unemployed people to any activity they choose.  No-one really knows what’s going on except claimants themselves, some of who report endless harassment whilst others claim they barely hear from their Work Programme provider.

There is one feature however that is universal across the Work Programme and that is benefit sanctions.  These latest figures show five times more people had benefits stopped whilst on the scheme than those who found jobs.  Benefits can be sanctioned for missing or being late to a meeting with a Work Programme provider, failing to attend workfare, or not meeting the draconian, pointless and confusing conditions unemployed people now face to maintain a benefit claim.

Benefit sanctions demolish people, leaving many with nothing at all to live on.  A Citizens Advice report released last year warned that benefit sanctions were causing people to attempt suicide, making health conditions worse, or having to beg or go through bins to find food.  Unsurprisingly being driven to absolute destitution does not motivate people to find work. People who are hungry, desperate and can’t afford to wash their clothes do not generally impress employers at job interviews.

Of course no politician, from any major party, is aware of this because none of them has ever been poor.  To the likes of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband alike, money falls from the sky and the idea of not being able to run the washing machine, or even have a washing machine, is inconceivable.  Let them use the dry cleaners instead they would likely think, or just send out the au pair to do that kind of thing.  This is why almost the entire political class, along with many highly paid charity bosses, support the system of sanctioning benefits as punishment and honestly seem to believe they are doing people a favour.

Approaching a million benefit sanctions are now being inflicted on some of the poorest people every year.  Many of them will be on the Work Programme and this leaves one very big question for the DWP. How many of these claimants might have actually found a job if they hadn’t been forced to spend time queuing up in foodbanks just to get their next meal?

Join the week of action against workfare beginning on March 29th, full details at: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3353

Sign the petition to scrap all benefit sanctions without exceptions.

Above pic from a protest at Leith Jobcentre called by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty.

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The Tragic Statistic That Reveals Welfare Reform To Be A Sham

IDS-I-dont-care-whos-diedA tragic statistic hidden in the quarterly report on the performance of the Work Programme proves beyond doubt that both this and the last government’s welfare reforms have been an abject failure.

Buried in the Supplemental Tables at the end of the report are the Work Programme performance figures for ESA Ex-Incapacity Benefit claimants.   These are claimants who were previously on Incapacity Benefit and have been re-assessed by Atos as able to do some kind of work and placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

These are the people that the right wing press have all too often smeared as frauds, who were faking or over-exaggerating their conditions.  People with cancer in some cases, or serious mental health conditions, Multiple Sclerosis or HIV.  They are the people who in some desperate incidents have been driven to suicide by the stressful and demeaning Atos assessments.  The same group who the Daily Mirror revealed were dying at a rate of 32 people a week after being placed in the Work Related Activity Group.

31,600 people from the ESA Ex-Incapacity Benefit group have started on the Work Programme so far.  Just 310 of them have achieved a sustained job outcome, which in many cases means just three months work.  Of those who had been on the Work Programme for one year in July 2013, just 0.9% had found a job lasting three months or longer.

This group of claimants is important because they have been impacted by almost every area of welfare reform, from the Labour introduced Work Capability Assessment, to the Work Programme and even workfare.  Those in the WRAG part of ESA can now be sent on full time workfare on the Work Programme or face benefits being stopped.

In many ways this group of claimants are what Welfare Reform has been all about.  Attempting to harass the not quite sick and disabled enough into work was intended to show how anyone, with a bit of a push from welfare-to-work companies, can get a job if they just try hard enough.

Work Programme providers who are able to find people in this group a job are paid thousands of pounds.  Companies like A4e and G4S have been given free rein to mandate these claimants to do whatever they deem necessary, including workfare, in a bid to try and force them back to work.  Claimants have little choice over how they look for work anymore and must do what their Work Programme provider tells them or face benefits being stopped.

And yet despite all this so-called help from ‘experts’ in the welfare to work sector,  just over 300 people have found jobs.

The figures for those assessed as ‘fit for work’ make equally grim reading.  Despite almost 18,000 people starting the Work Programme who have had Incapacity Benefits stopped after a decision by Atos and the DWP, little over a thousand (1,200) of them have found a job.

The shocking fact is that if all of those new to ESA, all of those thrown off ESA due to being ‘fit for work’ and those still on Incapacity Benefits are added together a mere 7,760 people have found a job through the Work Programme, despite 206,870 sick and disabled claimants starting on the scheme.

Astonishingly this is less than the 5.5% of Incapacity Benefit claimants it was estimated found work every year under their own steam – before all this began.

Only 4.5% of those on sickness or disability benefits who have been participating in the Work Programme for at least one year have started work.  The DWP’s minimum performance figure for this group was 16.5%.  And many of those who did get a job will be out of work again by now.  According to the DWP themselves around a third of people who found work on the Work Programme were unemployed again by the time of the latest release of statistics.

Hundreds of millions of pounds have been spent trying to bully and humiliate sick and disabled people back into work.  And yet after all the so-called expertise of the welfare-to-work sector and the ‘toughest ever’ benefit conditionality regime almost none of them have found a job.  All of that all too real suffering has been for nothing at all.  It hasn’t even saved any money.

Iain Duncan Smith boasts that Universal Credit will magically create 300,000 jobs by applying Work Programme style ‘conditionality’ to lone parents, part time workers and the precariously self-employed.  Last week’s Work Programme statistics reveal that claim to be a sham.  This conditionality has not helped sick and disabled claimants find work and it will not help anyone else.

Often Iain Duncan Smith has appeared to believe his own bullshit in his messianic zeal to blame the victims of cut-throat capitalism for their plight.  But the market has well and truly spoken and these figures prove it.  Bosses are not lining up to hire hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people – in fact the opposite is true with prejudice towards disabled people rampant amongst employers.  All these welfare reforms have really achieved is the quiet demolition of the lives of sick and disabled people who were already poor to begin with.

The latest Work Programme statistics are at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/work-programme-statistical-summary-september-2013

Above pic found at: http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/

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The Work Programme Is Getting Worse Latest Figures Reveal!

pauline-jobcentreStatistics released by the DWP today show that the performance of the Work Programme – which was already achieving less than doing nothing at all – is steadily getting worse.

By June 2013 a lower percentage of people who had been on the scheme for one full year had found a job which lasted at least 6 months  – known as a sustained job outcome – than in the previous two months.  In April 2013 14% of claimants who had been on the scheme for one year had found sustained jobs, by June this had dropped to 13%.

Following intervention by the UK Statistics Agency, the latest Work Programme figures now focus on the numbers of people finding work after spending one year on the scheme.  This change has been introduced to reflect that the longer someone has been on the two year Work Programme, the more likely they are to find a job.  This means that the number of job outcome payments, paid to welfare-to-work companies when someone has been in work for six months (or 3 months for the ‘hardest to help’), will rise over time.  This has nothing to do with the Work Programme becoming more successful – it simply means that as more people are referred onto the programme, and more people have been on the scheme longer, then there will be more job outcomes.

Despite this change in how the statistics are presented, the skiving Employment Minister Mark Hoban is attempting to bamboozle the press and public alike by claiming that:  “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”

To place this figure in context, the DWP also admit: “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.”  Which means that for just under a million people, the Work Programme has been a complete waste of time.

No matter how hard DWP Ministers try to spin the facts, the truth is that the Work Programme is currently performing even worse last quarter’s dismal figures.  The number of people on the sickness and disability benefit Employment Support Allowance (ESA) finding work after one year on the Work Programme has remained more or less stable, at the shameful rate of just 4%.  But for those on mainstream unemployment benefits things are getting worse.  According to the DWP: “Until the most recent quarter, the proportion of JSA intake groups achieving a Job Outcome payment within a year has increased month to month. Whilst the general trend is still increasing the most recent quarter shows a decrease in these levels.”

The latest statistics also contain the details of what has happened to the first group to complete the two year Work Programme.  This is the intake who began on the scheme in June 2011.  Just 22.5% of this group achieved a sustained job outcome at some point during this two years, a truly shocking figure woefully below the number who would have been expected to find work without any help at all.

Of the 74, 630 people who began on the Work Programme in June 2011, 54,000 of them were referred back to Jobcentre Plus two years later.  And this does not mean 20,000 people got jobs.  Some will have claimed a pension, moved in with a partner and become ineligible for benefits, or in some cases died.

It has been clear for a long time that the Work Programme isn’t working.  Long term unemployment is at record levels and still rising.  No matter how much unemployed people are bullied and humiliated by welfare-to-work companies, it will not make one bit of difference to the number of people out of work.  Unemployment isn’t caused by unemployed people.  But don’t expect any change to come from the DWP.  Iain Duncan Smith will carry on regardless, spending billions of pounds of tax payer’s money in an ever more desperate attempt to try and prove that the poor are responsible for their own misfortune.

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