Wednesday 19 June 2013

STOP PRESS - contradictory figures

There has just been a confusing item on the BBC news.  It said that a third of people who have been on the Work Programme (I think they said for a year or more) have started a job.  But only one in ten of those with medical problems have started a job.  And the providers say that the money just isn't there in the scheme to help them.  Cue a brief clip of Labour's Liam Byrne saying that three quarters of people on the WP haven't even started a job.  And then Andrew Sells (who was captioned as a WP adviser but appears to be a businessman - see here) saying that the WP was more successful every month.  An employee of a WP provider (I didn't catch which one) was asked why the companies took the contracts if they knew there wasn't enough money in them, but he was otherwise treated sympathetically.

Now the item has appeared appeared on the BBC news website.  It has Kirsty McHugh of the ERSA (the providers' trade association) saying that money needs to be diverted from other budgets.  But I'm no clearer about the figures.


  1. ERSA are releasing their job start (and unofficial) figures tomorrow (Thursday) ahead of the formal job outcome figures to March 2013 from DWP next Thursday. I suspect we won't necessarily see the step change in performance that we've been led to expect.

    Andrew Sells is a businessman, a personal friend of Mark Hoban, and was asked to chair a Work Programme best practice group. To that extent, I suppose he could be called a WP adviser, although as I understand it he was selected largely for his lack of familiarity with the sector (alongside his friendship with MH, of course).

    As for the money, ERSA may have a point, of sorts. Whether or not one likes the model (I don't - I have serious problems with the conditionality and sanctions regime and it's an entirely inappropriate response to the current economic environment and labour market) the fact is the WP is underfunded. Significantly less than FND, and much less than the first iterations of the New Deal. I disagree with them in that I don't think that throwing good money after bad is the answer, but the WP does look a bit string and Sellotape in terms of recent active interventions.

  2. I am no Maths genius,but lets look at the basic figures put forward by ERSA,A4E and Hoban, 1.2 Million starts on the WP 330.000 people have been helped into Employment, so far so good,this means that roughly their success rate is between 25 to 28 percent,almost a 8 times improvement since the last figures were released in Nov 2012.I would be very surprised if the statistics due to be released next week will reflect this.If they do,then the WP should be rolling in outcome fees(at least in the near future)but yet still claim they need more money.

    Conflicting claims are making no sense or perhaps I am just an Idiot.

  3. OK several points, How long did the jobs last, 1 day, one week, 6 months, forever... It could be that a person could be working for a month, then off then back to another monthly waged job each could be counted.

    I have a feeling this is just the start of another set of begathons. I am afraid I don't trust the figures, they use broad categories they never break it down into reality. ERSA Has a vested interest in putting the work programme in the "best" light because their members run it.

  4. The One True Elg20 June 2013 at 00:26

    The figures only include ''Job starts'' as far as I can tell, they don't define how many of the people were temporary contracts, work placements or how many left their job for whatever reason. My suspicion is that this is the ERSA trying to get it's story out first before the much more bleaker picture is painted when the DWP releases it's information later this month.


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