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The chairman of a committee that oversees the government's spending watchdog has said she was "angry" that a government work programme was failing to deliver good enough results.
"The DWP has not delivered the much needed improved performance on the Work Programme since my committee last examined it in late 2012 and it is very clear to me that it still has a mountain to climb if it is to help those most in need," said Margaret Hodge, of the Commons Public Accounts Committee.
It comes after the National Audit Office found that welfare-to-work scheme was paying private contractors bonuses even when they were under-performing, in a report disputed by the DwP which is running the programme.
A flagship government scheme aiming to get the long-term unemployed into jobs managed to get less than a third of its latest participants into work, according to data highlighted in a new report.
Just 32% of the privately-run scheme's latest intake found jobs, below the 33% minimum success rate demanded by the DwP and under its predicted 39%, the National Audit Office said. It said the programme was unlikely to get better results than previous Government schemes.
The Employment Related Services Association, which represents the Work Programme providers, insisted that it was an achievement to have maintained employment rates despite a "more challenging economic backdrop".
Tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money is being paid out to under-performing firms delivering the government's work programme, Whitehall's spending watchdog has warned.
'Flaws' in contracts drawn up with the companies delivering the welfare-to-work scheme means that even the worst-performing firms are expected to get bonuses, the National Audit Office has said.
It found that the bill is likely to reach £31 million in 2014-15, while it could have cost £6 million if more accurate measures of success had been used.
The way that contracts are drawn up also means that it is difficult for the government to fire companies which are failing to get good enough results, the NAO said.
The Department for Work and Pensions has disputed the facts of the report.