An excellent article was published in the Guardian yesterday. They went to Hull, where the unemployment rate is among the worst in the country, and looked at how the Work Programme is actually operating. This is not propaganda, but reality. The contract is held by G4S, but is sub-contracted here to Pertemps. "Officially," says the article, "the barrier is never simply that there are 58 jobseekers for every job available in the city (and in any case, staff point out cheerfully that the latest figure for Hull has dropped to just 22.6). The barriers they diagnose could be difficulties with basic literacy and numeracy, it could be drug or alcohol problems, it may be lack of transport, self-esteem, experience, skills or training. All of these things are problems to which Pertemps has solutions. The subtext is that external economic factors can never be the cause of someone's unemployment: the problem must somehow lie with the individual." We know that that's a major complaint of people on the WP - that their unemployment must be their fault - and it's feeding the perceptions of government and the wider public. Pertemps is apparently not meeting its target in Hull but the Guardian is not allowed by the DWP to publish the figures.
It would do ministers good to read about the people described here.
Meanwhile, the voluntary sector is still complaining. They are finding that their volunteers are being taken away to go on the WP.