Channel 4 news has run a report on an internal analysis of the Work Programme completed last September, and allegedly blocked for publication by Ministers, which found that only 23% of Work Programme providers believed that the programme was either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ effective. The report also suggests that creaming and parking, whereby providers concentrate on the easiest claimants to get into work and set aside those furthest from the labour market, are still “significant problems” for the Work Programme, with it acknowledging that participants with health conditions and disabilities are offered less support than other groups, with complaints noted from charities concerning a lack of referrals to specialist supply chain partners.
Issues with the payment-by-results structure are also raised in the report, with it reported that there was “no clear relationship between an individual participant’s Work Programme payment group and the nature and intensity of support that participant received, which suggested … that the differential payment regime was unlikely to have effectively mitigated creaming and parking.”
Pete from PSI: Whilst the allegations brought against the Work Programme are in many cases nothing new, the big story in this is that the report was blocked for publication at a Ministerial level by the DWP, a Department often criticised for its lack of transparency. Indeed, in responding to the news story, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Margaret Hodge argued that “Officials assured us that the design of the programme was such that there was no way the private providers could ignore their (clients) needs… what the leaked report has shown us now is actually those needs have been ignored and those that need most help are not being given it.”