Vulnerable jobseekers in work programme ignored

  • Research in to the Coalition's Work Programme shows that firms focus on placing those who are easy to get work as it is more likely to generate them a fee.

    Welfare firms are involved in widespread "gaming" of the Work Programme, with the most vulnerable jobseekers often ignored because they are too costly to help, according to new research into how the government's flagship employment initiative is working in practice.

    Providers privately admit they are focusing resources on the "easy customers" who are more likely to generate a fee, and sidelining jobless clients who require more time and investment to become ready for work, a process known as "creaming and parking," the study says.

    It concludes that the quality of services offered to jobseekers is being undermined because the design of the Work Programme, in which companies are not paid until customers have been in work for two years, creates such huge financial stresses that many providers have little option but to cut corners.

    The study, based on a series of often frank interviews with welfare providers of all sizes, both private companies and charities, reveals a widespread concern that the "payment by results" approach has been undermining ministers' stated aim of getting "hard to reach" customers, such as those with disabilities, off benefits and into work.

    One anonymous provider said:

    There's a level of parking [of vulnerable customers] going on which we are not particularly comfortable with but we also need to achieve what we need to achieve.

    A series of interviews and focus groups by the Third Sector Research Centre at Birmingham University reveals how the biggest Work Programme providers - predominantly private companies - transfer financial risks on to smaller subcontractor firms and charities.

    The design of the system meant that providers offering specialist services targeted niche groups, such as homeless people and ex-offenders. The suggestion is that the people in this category are regarded as such a risk that the primes simply "park" their cases and do not pass them down the chain at all. So charities providing specialist services for these candidates are often getting no referrals, putting them under financial pressure

    However, the study concluded that the way the system worked meant that small private firms low in the supply chain were just as likely to be adversely affected.

    Ministers argued that by offering providers higher fees for getting harder-to-reach customers into a job, they would remove the incentive for providers to game the system

    A co-author of the study, James Rees, told said that providers were likely to be gaming the system as a way of dealing with the acute financial pressures inherent in the payment by results approach, and he had come across no evidence that gaming had taken place to excessively inflate profits.

    Kirsty McHugh, chief executive of the Employment Related Services Association, which represents Work Programme providers, accepted that the programme operated on a tight financial model, but she said:

    "Most Work Programme advisers, regardless of sector, are motivated by helping those furthest from the labour market into a job."

    Despite concerns over the Work Programme, the government has announced plans to use a similar payment by results system as it prepares to introduce market reforms to the probation service.

    The Department for Work and Pensions said:

    The Work Programme has already got more than 207,000 of the hardest-to-help unemployed people into work, and many specialist charities are playing an important role."We've given providers the freedom to find the right support for each participant, and we pay them more money for getting those with more complex needs into work, so there's a clear incentive to help every participant."

    Source: The Guardian

     

     


Related articles

  • Read More

    SCOTLAND AHEAD OF THE UK ON BUILDING NEW HOMES

    SNP Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart said the following while commenting on Social Security and Equalities in the Scottish Parliament, SCN reports:"These figures demonstrate Scotland's strong...

  • Read More

    HEALTHY DIETS FOR CARE HOMES

    Joanna Cox, a manager of Chandos Lodge, said:"Food is a huge factor in our residents' lives and we want to ensure the meals we provide not only satisfy their tastes but benefit their health."Healthy...

  • Read More

    DO HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE SERVICES NEED INTEGRATION?

    Although, many integration initiatives have been introduced across the NHS; For example, vanguard sites to the prime minister's Challenge Fund and integrated care pioneers- many involving GP...

  • Read More

    LANDLORDS DIVIDED ON HOW TO VOTE IN EU REFERENDUM

    The findings show that landlords are evenly split, with 35% intending to vote leave and 35% intending to vote to remain, reports Housing Excellence.According to Richard Lambert, the NLA's Chief...

  • Read More

    Highest records of working families since 1996

    Research has also shown that parents of young children, who were part of a couple, were almost twice as likely to be in a job. In comparison to older mothers, young mothers under 24 were only half as...

  • Read More

    What percentage of people have mental disorders in the UK?

    Percentage of adults suffering from common mental disorders:Prevalence of common mental disorders:Women (19.7%) are significantly more likely to experience common mental health disorders than men...

  • Read More

    Safe Tweets, safe Twitter

    Twitter is one of the most popular platforms where users across the globe collectively contribute 500 million Tweets every day. However, it can sometimes be inevitable that you come across content...

  • Read More

    Google Creates System to Eradicate Child Abuse Images

    Pressure was on the company to do something about the problem after it emerged that men convicted of murdering Tia Sharp, aged 12, and April Jones, aged 5, had been viewing the indecent images online...

  • Read More

    How Councils Can Improve Home Care

    Read the full article at Community Care.Southwark council has agreed in principle to Unison's ethical home care charter and is working with local providers to find out how they could raise pay ...

  • Read More

    Man Aged 83 is First Reported Assisted Suicide for Dementia

    Reported @ BBC News | Health on 31/5/13He was assessed as mentally competent to make the decision at the centre in Switzerland, as he was only in the first stages of the disease.He did not want to...

Responding to the DWP Consultation:  Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "I found the event informative and timely it helped me to complete our response to DWP without which I would have struggled." S.S. - Safe House

 

Briefing Signup