As Channel 4 publishes more of the figures from that leaked report, so there is dispute about how meaningful they are.
The channel's news website details the outcome rates in different regions. They are miserably low in some areas where the unemployment rate is also low; and better in areas where A4e are sub-contractors, suggesting to the writer that it's A4e's model which is at fault. The reporter Jackie Long, on her Channel 4 blog, summarises this, and quotes the DWP's response that the interpretation of the stats was "ludicrous". Long asks if A4e's figures would be better after 12 months instead of 10, and clearly doesn't think so.
The Telegraph has carried the story, and expands on the DWP's response. The spokes-person is quoted as saying that is "virtually impossible for any provider to have built up a significant number of job outcome payments by the end of March as most outcomes are only payable after someone has found a job and stayed in it for six months". Hold on. The stats revealed by Channel 4 are not about outcome payments. They show the numbers of starters getting work and then staying in work for 13 weeks or more. If they haven't been in a job for 13 weeks then they're not going to make it to 6 months.
Even more puzzling is the reaction of the FullFact website, which is normally very rigorous about stats. They point to the premature judgement made by the Tories when in opposition on Flexible New Deal. Figures show, they say, that "a significantly higher proportion of participants were finding sustainable work after 14 months than were after 11 months". Well, if they say so. We are to understand, then, that A4e's figures could look dramatically better in a few months' time.