Monday, 29 November 2010

Work Programme Prospectus

The DWP has issued a prospectus setting out more details of the Work Programme. It can be found here.
Interesting points:
  • Those over 25 on JSA will still not be referred until they've been unemployed for 12 months. So they will lose 10% of their housing benefit at the same time as going on the programme!
  • There is a beefed-up role for the Jobcentres, including running "work clubs" and getting people to do voluntary work.
  • "We will refer customers to the Work Programme contracts for a 5 year period. Providers will then work with customers for up to a further 2 years."
  • 40 contracts at £10 - 50 million each.
  • The claim that there would be payment only for outcomes was untrue. There's to be an "attachment fee ..... to assist with initial delivery costs." Sounds a bit like on-programme payments. Presumably the providers insisted on this.
  • "Substantial" performance incentive payments for providers.
There's information about the basis for awarding contracts and price competition. The whole document is well worth studying.
    PS. The Financial Times has questioned Chris Grayling about the "attachment fees". He "insisted that the payments, understood to be in the low hundreds of pounds per client, would be paid only as people are taken on, not as a block payment in anticipation of the numbers likely to join the programme as happened under the existing Flexible New Deal scheme. Most recently, contractors have received 20-30 per cent of payments in advance." He goes on, “It is a recognition that in the early years, providers do have cash flow problems, and this is designed to make a contribution but one that will be phased out, becoming completely outcome-based payments, made in arrears, over the life of the contracts,” Mr Grayling said. He continued: “We never said the upfront payment would be zero – just as little as possible. But we will get to zero over the life of the contracts.”


    1. I'll give the Work Programme a year before it is quietly shelved.

    2. The DWP prospectus does indeed make interesting reading. The minimum level of service, performance results, and implied breach of contract are worth noting. As I recall, under the FND programme, providers were expected to get 25% of people back to work. The latest DWP figures show that 5-8% was achieved - Under the new proposals, would that trigger an investigation and/or sanctions against the provider ?

      I also note that providers are required to make public their "minimum service levels" along with information about their "partners". On the face of it, it would appear that the customer will be better informed about what to expect from each provider. However, the talk about a "black box" approach and that "ESOL and debt management skills are vital to assist customers in finding employment" raises concerns about the type of "training" that may be offered.

      One thing that is missing is any mention of an impartial & independent complaints procedure should the provider fail to meet expectations of the customer based on the published SLA.

      I look forward to seeing who will be the partners/sub-contractors in my area. Wishful thinking, but perhaps the letters of intent will also be made public (along with any contracts) so that the taxpayer can scrutinise the proposed provisions.

    3. My initial reaction is that these details are really extreme and nasty. Point 1) losing 10 percent of Housing Benefit after a year’s unemployment. Why the penalty???

      As time passes in unemployment your financial needs increase. Shoes need mended or renewed. Clothing needs replaced. And so on....... Worse too when you are solely responsible for bills.

      The only point I agree with is 2) a bigger role for the Jobcentre. My feeling is that the scheme should in fact be entirely under them as opposed to these parasitic private companies.

      Thank God I only have a few months before “retirement”

    4. Thats it then unemployment is solved! what a brilliant idea the work programme is, why didnt anyone think of it before!!

    5. We are introducing a reduction – not a complete withdrawal – of housing support. The measure may require people to reconsider where they live and modify their expectations if these are based on long-term reliance on state support. 12 months is a reasonable period to enable people to adjust to their circumstances and with the right help, to overcome barriers to finding and taking work.
      Local employment conditions should be taken into account in the Work Programme pricing structure.
      We have set out our thoughts on this in the “Geographical Pricing under the Work Programme” section of the attached Prospectus.
      16 i took this from the goverments work programme overveiw, so if your out of work for a year you will have to move to find another job! but what if you loose that job? then your home goes too right? my question.. what idiots thought up the "work programme" and this totally ridiculous moving from your home after a year to chase jobs what jobs? all it will create is homelessness. its insane,

    6. "Getting" people to do "volunteering work", what do they mean by getting? mandatory? then its not volunteering is it!

    7. I thought work for your benefit pilot scheme was scrapped. See link on the right hand side of this page. I'm confused.

    8. The scheme has been scrapped. This is a different scheme!


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