– Department for Work and Pensions spokesman
This report paints a skewed picture. More than 200,000 people have moved off benefits and into a job thanks to the Work Programme.
It is making a real difference to tens of thousands of the hardest to help jobseekers. Long-term unemployment fell by 15,000 in the latest quarter.
The Work Programme gives support to claimants for two years and it hasn't even been running that long yet, so it's still early days. We know the performance of our providers is improving.
Under the payment-by-results system, the Department has incentives in place which in theory are supposed to prevent providers concentrating on the easiest cases and ignoring those who are hardest to help.
But these incentives are not working and there is increasing evidence of 'creaming and parking'.
- The Work Programme was introduced in June 2011
- £400m has been spent so far, but the estimated cost is between £3 billion and £5 billion over five years
- The money is paid to private providers, but not one has met its contractual target and performance "varies wildly"
- The committee says providers are concentrating on people more likely to generate a fee, which means sidelining jobless clients who require more time and investment
Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee says far from convinced that the £400 million spent so far on the Work Programme will turn out to be good value for money.
A multibillion-pound Government programme which is meant to help the long-term unemployed into work has been branded "extremely poor" in a damning assessment by MPs.
The Public Accounts Committee says that during the first 14 months of the Work Programme only 3.6% of claimants moved off benefits into sustained employment. The figure is less than a third of the 11.9% the Department for Work and Pensions expected to achieve.