‘Work Programme failing those most in need’: report

london_councilsA new report today from London Councils finds that from April 2012 to March 2013 fewer than five per cent of the most vulnerable people in the capital referred to the Work Programme are finding a job while some council-run schemes are reporting 37.5 per cent success rates.

‘The Missing Link: An Analysis of Work Programme Performance’ analyses the latest national statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

It reveals that fewer than five per cent of people receiving Employment Support Allowance who are referred to the Work Programme in the capital find a job. The report calls for the government to offer hope to those furthest from the jobs market by joining-up employment support with other services provided locally by devolving it to councils.

The report argues that people depend on council services to succeed in work, but because the Work Programme is centrally designed it fails to join up these services. The most vulnerable are being let down by a fragmented system which does not meet their needs.

Councils commission the wide variety of essential services including childcare, support services for drug or alcohol problems, plus financial information and advice for vulnerable people, all of which support people back into work.

It concludes that in the context of the continuing poor performance of the Work Programme, devolving to boroughs is the most logical and effective way of joining-up employment support with other key services essential to getting people back to work.

Cllr Peter John, London Councils’ Executive Member for Employment and Skills, said:

“The Work Programme is failing those most in need. For welfare-to-work schemes to support the most vulnerable successfully, there needs to be exceptionally strong links between the scheme, the people and the services on which they depend.

“By devolving the scheme to councils the government would radically improve employment support and offer real hope to those who need it most, reversing years of low-expectations of what can be achieved.”

Local authorities are, where possible, working with prime contractors currently responsible for delivering the Work Programme to improve its performance. Devolving power and resources would better serve the needs for the most vulnerable, argues the report.

View the report at www.londoncouncils.gov.uk

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