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Details of post Work Programme support announced

There has been much talk, piloting, research and analysis over the last couple of years about what to do with people who spend two years on the Work Programme without entering sustained employment. The original aim was to provide a Mandatory Work Activity style programme where benefit claimants would be required to undertake community work. At last, the government has made a final announcement to put this debate to rest.

From April 2014, all claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance who leave the Work Programme, and who have been unemployed for three years or more will be required to:

  • take part in community work placements, such as clearing up litter and graffiti in their local areas
  • attend daily signings at the job centre until they find work; or
  • receive intensitve support to address multiple barriers to finding work, for example literacy or numeracy problems

Claimants will lose their benefit if they fail to comply.

Employment and Support Allowance claimants will not be involved in this scheme, but a two year pilot in Manchester will work with ESA claimants leaving the Work Programme, to provide a single point of contact to help with their job search and health and social care support.  The key worker will be responsible for identifying the best help, advice and actions needed.  This could include, arranging occupational health visits, mental health support, housing support and stage these in a way that enabled the claimant to move closer to, and into, work.

The grapevine suggests that DWP will be contracting for the new community work placements and not extending the current MWA contracts to cover this provision.  So will we have yet another contract to confuse the market place?  And will Christmas be cancelled again for anyone involved in bidding?  Watch this space!

30 September 2013


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