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The Work Programme Proving Successful

The Work Programme was launched in June 2011 and overhauled how the very hardest to help claimants are supported off benefits and into work through flexible and tailored support where providers are paid by results.

Today’s figures come off the back of statistics published earlier this month showing record levels of employment and long-term unemployment falling by 108,000 over the past year - the largest annual fall in 16 years.

Minister for Employment Esther McVey said: “Long-term unemployment has dropped and the Work Programme is playing its part by making sure around 300,000 jobseekers have got a regular wage, the right skills and opportunities for today's jobs market.

"The vast majority of unemployed people find a job quickly, but we know the minority of claimants who are in danger of becoming long-term unemployed need extra help. As part of the Government's long-term economic plan, we introduced the Work Programme to transform how this is done, and we won't hesitate to keep driving up performance to get the best deal for claimants and taxpayers."

The figures published today show Work Programme performance is continually improving since being launched in June 2011, and continues to do so. 

Up to the end of March 2014, 296,000 people have so far found lasting work - up from 132,000 a year earlier. There are a further 26,000 people who we have identified who have spent at least six months in work (or three for the hardest to help), but where the provider has not claimed a job outcome.

The vast majority of those who find sustained employment are remaining in work beyond the six month point (or three for the very hardest to help).  Over 274,000 participants have gone on to work past this point.

Performance has been continually improving, with all contracts meeting the Minimum Performance levels in the third year of the programme.  Of the most recent group who joined the scheme in March 2012 and have been on the scheme long enough to be counted in these statistics, nearly 28% have been placed in a sustained job.  This is up from 22% for those who joined at the beginning of the programme. Young people have proportionately secured the most number of sustainable jobs out of any group, with 71,640 having done so since the programme began.

Work Programme providers get paid the majority of their money when someone has stayed in work for six months, or three months for some of the hardest to help, which means that many more people will have started work but not reached the six month point yet. Industry figures show over 550,000 people had started a job thanks to the Work Programme.

Previous schemes didn’t do enough for disabled people, which is why the Work Programme focuses on giving some of the hardest to help people two years of support, and offers providers higher prices for working with these claimants. We know that this group requires a great deal of support, and that many will have been out of work for a number of years – decades even.

Work Programme providers have improved significantly, but we have always been clear that we want to continue to drive up performance, which is why a range of new performance measures are being established to ensure as many people as possible are helped into work, and to give the best value to the taxpayer. 

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