Government’s Work Programme results “worse than doing nothing” in the North East.

Anna TurleyFigures published today show the government’s flagship programme to tackle unemployment has been an abject failure in the region.

Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne branded figures – which show around one in ten participants across the North East achieved a job outcome – as ‘appalling’.

Both of the contracts handed out to companies to operate The Work Programme in this region have failed to deliver a return of more than one-in-ten participants getting a job.

Of the 21,940 JSA claimants referred to Avanta Enterprise Limited by the end of March 2013, only 1850 found work within 12 months – a success rate of just 8.4%. The North East’s other contracted faired only marginally better with 9% of those referred to Ingeus UK Ltd finding work within 12 months. 

The figures reveal that both the region’s contractors success rates with Job Seekers over 25 years old were less than that rates which would have occurred if no intervention had taken place. 

The report also reveals that every single one of the government’s minimum targets for the scheme were missed.

Liam Byrne MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, responding to today’s Work Programme figures said:

“The Work Programme hasn't worked for over a million people across Britain and the results in the North East region are appalling. 

 “Three years into the parliament and nearly nine out of ten people in the North East on this flagship programme have been failed. 

“Worse of all, the government missed every single one of its minimum targets and in nearly half the country, the Work Programme is literally worse than doing nothing. No wonder the benefits bill is £21 billion higher than planned and no wonder the Chancellor himself was forced to attack 'under-performing' back to work programmes.

“We can't go on like this. We desperately need a change of course starting with a compulsory jobs guarantee that would make sure everyone out of work long term would have to take a job after two years.” 

Anna Turley, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Redcar said:

“We have the highest rate of unemployment in the country and the numbers are continuing to climb. These are alarming statistics that show that the government’s flagship scheme is failing the North East. 

 “We were promised the biggest back to work programme in history but it’s clear it’s just not working. The fact that the results are actually worse than doing nothing is a damning indictment of this government’s economic strategy for this region. “


Editor’s Notes:

1.       See table 2.19 on page 37 of the report for the figures quoted above. 

2.       Over a million people have not achieved a job outcome, with nearly 9 out of 10 being failed: 1,071,900 (89%) of the 1.20 million people referred to the Work Programme have not found sustained employment

3.       Today’s figures show the Work Programme has missed every single one of its performance targets: 

This morning’s statistical release states that: “In this second financial year (April 2012 – March 2013) the contractual performance level for the JSA 18 to 24, JSA 25 and over and ESA new customers Payment Groups were 31.9%, 27.3% and 5.3% respectively. This was against a Minimum Performance Level of 33%, 27.5% and 16.5% for each group respectively.” 

4.       DWP expected the scheme to significantly exceed minimum levels. 

DWP’s invitation to tender stated that: “DWP expects that Providers will significantly exceed these minimum levels. However, should Providers fail to reach minimum levels for any of the customer groups; it will lead to contractual action up to and including contract termination if improvements to performance are not made.”

5.       In almost half the country, the Work Programme is still worse than doing nothing. In the North East only Avanta’s performance with 18-24 year olds exceeded the 30% non-intervention rate, by 2.1% 

Today’s release shows that, for the JSA 18-24 job outcomes in 19 of the 40 regional contracts did not achieve the DWP’s ‘non-intervention rates’, and job outcomes for the JSA 25+ payment group in 19 of the 40 regional contracts did not achieve the non-intervention rates. 

Non-intervention rates are expected job outcome rates if no programme were in place: see

6.       Osborne was forced to threaten under-performing schemes: in his statement yesterday, George Osborne was forced to call for a ‘hard-headed assessment of under-performing schemes’. See: