Channel 4 News has just run an item revealing that A4e has managed only 3.5% job outcomes lasting 13 weeks or more.
They've got hold of figures which show that A4e are "improving the lives of very few". Since June 2011 only 18% of starters got work, and only 3.5% got "sustained" work, i.e. lasting 13 weeks. Margaret Hodge said it was "deeply depressing" - "an abysmal performance". Philip Hammond, a correspondent to this blog who has been on the programme for 6 months, said in an interview that it did not offer real support and called the WP a scam.
The reporter pointed out that in Newham, East London, A4e's performance of 3% was worse than that of the local authority's own scheme.
Ian Mulheirn of the Social Market Foundation says that the figures are worse than the DWP's forecast for no intervention at all. The DWP wouldn't comment, except to say that it would be "ludicrous" to talk about the figures now. A4e doesn't dispute the figures but wouldn't be interviewed either.
The item ended with the comment that although A4e is falling way below minimum standards it's unlikely that they will lose their contracts. It's critical to know how well or badly the other providers are doing.