During his feedback to the House of Commons Liaison Committee on Tuedsay (8th) entitled Big Society or Broken Society, David Cameron announced new proposals that appear to herald the introduction of a “work for your benefits” scheme.
JSA claimants who fail to find work as a result of the Work Programme will have to complete a community programme of 30 hours a week for 26 weeks. Mr Cameron says this is to help people, “… get back in touch with the world of work, the idea of having a job, the skills that you need...” by doing something to benefit the community. Chris Grayling added that, "No one should expect to be able to sit at home doing nothing.”
The programme will be piloted in four key areas from this month - Derbyshire; Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland; East Anglia; and Leicestershire and Northamptonshire - before the programme is rolled out nationwide in 2013. Ingeus will be delivering placements in East Anglia and Derbyshire, with ATOS delivering placements in the other areas.
The pilot will be for people who have come through FND, so this appears to follow through with the previous Government's plan to have a "post FND" programme. Providers will be paid a start fee, a completion fee (varied depending on the number of weeks the participant actually completed), and a 26 week sustained job outcome fee. So the idea that this is just a "giving back to the community" programme is wrong. Providers can deliver up to 10 hours jobsearch a week in addition to the 30 hour work placement, which they will obviously need to do in order to achieve sustained employment. So the programme is likely to see participants doing a 40 hour week.
DWP have already published provider guidance which is very much based around Work Programme guidance.
W2WS comment: This programme is the "opportunity to gain work experience" for very long term unemployed that Chris Grayling announced in July, and is a trial. not a pilot. The opportunity for work experience has morphed into a 6 month mandatory work programme which shows little innovation or imagination. Will this be another opportunity wasted? Will CAP turn into a payment by results programme; open only to ERSS framework providers; with the bidder offering a zero attachment fee and the lowest completion fees getting the highest financial score; with lip service being paid to quality; and the market being closed to the very organisations who should be in the front line of delivering community benefit programmes? CAP is fundamentally a 26 week MWA programme with a job outcome fee - it facilitates the mandatory placement that for all intent and purpose should be part of the Work Programme, but didn't fit into the much heralded black box. We await the publication of the ITT to see if our fears are unfounded, but experience would suggest otherwise.
8 November 2011 (updated 17 Nov)