Back in May the Work and Pensions Select Committee reported its concerns about the Work Programme. The DWP has now responded. You can read a useful summary on the Indus Delta site. It's all interesting, but there are two points which are particularly relevant for the providers.
1) Market share shift. This is the penalty providers are supposed to pay if they fail; a shifting of some of their share of referrals to other providers. The committee wanted this shift to be "carefully and transparently applied" and wanted to know what work had been done on its likely impact. The reply is that the DWP has already "adjusted the shares according to performance levels over 12 months". So who has lost and who has gained? There wasn't a great deal of difference in performance among all the providers.
2) Attachment fees. These are due to stop in April 2014. The committee thought they should be retained beyond that date "to protect service delivery". The reply is non-committal: "The department will monitor the success of incentives under the payment by results model and make changes if it deems them necessary." Now, this appears to mean that if the incentives are not successful, i.e. the providers don't make enough profit, the attachment fees could be retained. And that's crazy.
One other "concern" will interest those who are coming to the end of their stint on the WP. The committee wanted to ensure that people who hadn't got work should be provided with specialist support or "allowed to extend their time on the Work Programme". (They didn't, apparently, see any irony in this.) The response is that the Mandatory Intervention Regime (a phrase that's new to me) is already dealing with this, and that "post-work programme support remains flexible and tailored to individual needs." So you've no need to worry.