A4e is one of the providers who are putting a lot of effort into promoting FND as new, improved and generally brilliant. It does away with the worst aspect of the old contracts; the sitting about uselessly for 13 weeks. The only laid-down attendance requirement is for 4 weeks in a work placement. But anyone newly unemployed today will not be eligible for FND for a year (or 6 months in some cases). During that time s/he will have access to the growing number of schemes put in place by local councils and partnerships; schemes which don't receive national funding or make a profit for anyone, but which offer most of what FND offers, including relationships with local employers. It follows that anyone who is still unemployed after a year is likely to be among the "hard to help"; or there just aren't any jobs out there. The job targets for FND are "not just jobs, but jobs that pay and offer opportunities for progression, with an emphasis on sustaining and progressing in work to ensure all customers who need help to develop their skills have access to the relevant pre-employment and in-work training" (DWP website). A tall order. And providers get little income unless and until the jobs are secured and maintained for 13 weeks.
So Private Eye, and many other people, will probably be proved right. But let's applaud the efforts that A4e and others are putting into trying to make it work.