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MWA - Questions Need to be Asked

DWP has published the latest statstics for their Mandatory Programmes (Mandatory Work Activity and Skills Conditionality). This data takes us up to Febuary 2013, and shows how many referrals have been made to these programmes and how many starts have been achieved.

W2W Solutions feels that serious questions should be asked about the data release. The data provides a tiny part of the picture of how MWA in particular is being used in Jobcentres. The lack of transparency in relation to this data is worrying, and does little to create confidence in either the programme or Jobcentre Plus use of the provision.  As work experience provision has come in for so much criticism in recent months it seems rather short-sighted not to review the data and provide the public with the complete picture.

January 2013 saw the highest number of referrals in a single month since January 2012, with nearly 12,000 claimants being referred.  This is possibly due to JCP staff deferring referral over the Christmas period, but even so, this is an extremely high number of referrals.  This number fell only slightly in February 2013 to just over 10,000, the third highest in month referral since the programme started.

Only 36 per cent of referrals to MWA actually result in a start.  This has remained fairly static since the start of the programme in 2011.  But what does this tell us?  Without further data about those referred, the referral and start information is pretty meaningless.  Did the 64 per cent of referrals who didn't start MWA find work, sign off benefits, were they sanctioned?  

We are constantly being told that transparency of data is a priority for government departments.  Unless the data being provided is complete and tells the full story, it offers virtually no opportunity for further scrutiny and presents more questions than it answers.

Maybe Margaret Hodge could take this up with Robert Devereux when they next meet!

27 May 2013


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