Friday, 19 October 2012
"Descending into chaos"
So says the Financial Times about the Work programme. Mind you, they're quoting Labour's Liam Byrne. But the verdict is based on a slump in the number of people being referred to the WP, down from 65,000 in February to 40,000 in August. "Opinion is divided as to why," they say. Some think that the pattern of employment is responsible, with fewer people being out of work for the 9 months stretch which would get them referred. Certainly this would have an effect if there is a big increase in temporary jobs and unwanted part-time jobs. Another view is that the Jobcentres have lost so many staff that they are not able to keep up with the referrals. Whatever the reason, it's "beginning to worry the market", says Kirsty McHugh of the ERSA. Mark Hoban, the minister, isn't worried. He says that referrals are higher than predicted when the companies bid for the contracts. Byrne is pushing for publication of the performance data - and so are we all.