X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Coffee House

Work programme figures disappoint

27 November 2012

4:40 PM

27 November 2012

4:40 PM

Today’s headline figures on the Work Programme are not good news for the government: in its first 12 months, only 2.3 per cent of participants actually landed sustainable employment against the department’s target of 5.5 per cent. This sounds even worse when you contrast it with the government’s own figures suggesting that 5 per cent of people who have been unemployed for a long time can find sustainable jobs without any intervention at all, suggesting the programme is actually worse than doing nothing.

At Coffee House, we are keen to see the Work Programme succeed, not just because it will vindicate the ministers co-ordinating it, but also because a successful programme would bring those furthest from the labour market back into employment. So the first tranche of figures is disappointing.

[Alt-Text]


But they must be read as part of the broader economic picture: when this scheme was set up, it was based upon the assumption that the British economy would be growing by 2 per cent a year. The Work Programme was not set up as a solution to the weak economy, but to the problem of a long-term unemployment rate that was too high even before the recession bit. But because the recovery is dragging its feet far more than anyone (including Sir Mervyn King) believed it would, there are not as many jobs available as a whole, let alone for those who, in spite of intensive training, will have long gaps in their CVs.

Some of these problems were highlighted earlier this year by the CBI in a report called Work in Progress, which said ‘providers are… operating in a much tougher economic and labour market conditions than originally envisaged, with potential implications for their financial and commercial models’. The CBI recommended improving the referrals process for those furthest from the labour market to ensure they move onto the work programme as soon as they are capable of looking for a job, encouraging self-employment, joining the programme up with services for ex-offenders and encouraging more employers to work with the programme. The government may well want to take heed of some of these recommendations if the figures continue to disappoint.

And, as Pete Hoskin points out in his ConHome blog, it is too early to condemn the Work Programme as a failure, especially if you’re a Labour MP, as that party’s own welfare-to-work programme also missed its targets.

But in the short-term, this is an awkward piece of news for the Government. Employment minister Mark Hoban has written an upbeat piece for PoliticsHome, saying ‘critics call for us to change course, but we won’t be doing that’, but he is writing to under performing providers on the programme, threatening that if they do not up their game, they will not receive as many new claimants. The success of this programme is hugely important to the government’s ability or otherwise to sell itself in 2015 as the party that finally reformed welfare: ministers will want to do everything they can to prove the critics wrong, and that includes taking on board some of the early warning signs about providers and the design of the programme.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close