Is the WP to BIG TO FAIL?

As the WP lumbers from failure to failure,why have they not pulled the plug? Will awarding the CWP contracts help fill the financial gap? Can the Providers deliver the CWP? What will the CWP deliver? How will the CWP help the Unemployed? Anybody? Anybody?...

Hello @sh1tbrick.

Pulling plugs when there are contracts requires evidence of failure.

To date, over the WP as a whole, there is evidence of not reaching the rhetoric with which it was launched, but it is, arguably, the most cost-effective programme run to date. It's performance, on the published figures, hasn't been stellar but has been creditable compared with what has been run in the past.

This is taking account of the fact that the economy has not yet returned to pre-recession trend growth, and is a long way off that mark, as we do in our regular analyses.

So, pulling plugs on 40 contracts would probably produce 40 lawsuits, which is a substantial risk for DWP (and everybody else including Primes, as the law is notoriously risky).

As far as the CWP is concerned, we reported on the research on the pilot that Polly Toynbee quoted in the Guardian. That was covered on IndusDelta at the time, and you may have commented on it.

I understand your response,but while the WP adjusts to the economy those that it has failed are the ones that have paid the price. Universal Credit? I agree that in principal it is a very good idea,similar to the WP,but at what cost? Universal Jobmatch,a one stop employment centre? seriously flawed and is it effective? WCA? an absolute nightmare. CWP,a great headline and political attention grabber,but it helps how? In my opinion these programmes were started to help the unemployed find "Paid" employment,but are now so embroiled in *** and political intrigue that the original purpose has been put by the wayside.

Mildly edited - Mod

Having read the Inclusion analysis of the Work Programme performance data, this summises that the Work Programme is not as cost effective as is being suggested. The most cost effective programme being run by DWP currently is the ESF Families programme though this is probably due to underperformance as much as anything else.

In terms of performance, Families also seems to have comparable sustainment rates to Work Programme for Participants who have completed 12 months on the programme and is not solely focused on job outcomes - surely therefore when DWP are considering what kind of programme should proceed the Work Programme they could do a lot worse than look at the ESF Families programme - training with employment - versus pure employability targeting only.

Training with employment.....who'd have thought it?

Oh and sadly I agree that you cannot simply pull 40 contracts. Cost the current government a very sizeable chunk to terminate the FND ones with very little demonstrable cost benefit.

CWP will cost £2000 per person for 6 Months of Supervision,no Training or Qualifications,similar to the WP,but at least the Unemployed will get????? Well nothing actually,maybe a Sanction and the point is not to get a pound of flesh? The cost of the CWP combined with JSA equates to almost £150 pw,enough to fund a 25 hour per week paid job,but who will supervise them? Two options (1) Those that are on CWP are made Managers,a lot cheaper than the £30K that G4S are willing to pay. (2)the groups that benefit from the labour provided by the Unemployed.


On Cost-effectiveness, I was looking at an older National Audit Office report on programme cost per job for something else I was doing

See page 41. 

Given that our estimate of Work Programme cost per partipant is £577, and ERSA report initial job start rates (only counting first job start) of up to 43% overall - it's hard to get a Work Programme cost per job start much over £1,300, which is half that on New Deal for Young People and an even lower proportion for New Deal for 25+, let alone Employment Zones.

These are of course DWP spend. In the case of both the Work Programme and the Families programme, up-front spending comes from the provider which is reimbursed to some extent at some stage by DWP.

So for the families programme, providers may well be showing losses to date and hoping to make that up later on when the outcomes come in. Work Programme looks to have turned that outcome and sustainment payments are outweighing up-front costs now, but it is unlikely to show a lifetime profit for all providers just yet.

@Sh1tbrick. You'll notice that the Inclusion seminar on support for the very long-term unemployed

includes someone with experience of long-term unemployment and the researcher who found not a lot of impact of the pilot, as well as DWP and providers. 

However, only metaphorical fireworks permitted. Polite debate needed.

Assume people on all sides are trying to make the best of what we have, including those people who are providing CWP. 

@sh1tbrick Community Work Placements.

The maximum providers can get without participants getting a job is £1,600.

£400 is the job outcome fee for 26 weeks paid work.

Only £400 is an attachment fee.

The rest is paid for either placement or work or combinations, so they don't have an incentive to keep people on placement when they could have had a job.

We'll see how it goes.

I may not be an accounting genius,but it seems that 6 Months of CWP will cost a whole lot more than 2 years on the WP and in what way will the CWP enhance the chances of employment?

I noticed growing up on a farm that when Chickens £hit on the very top of it is a crystal white piece,pure as driven snow..but you know what? at the end of the day it is still Chicken £hit!

Yes, CWP does cost substantially more than the Work Programme. 

Whether CWP enhances the chances of a job more than Jobcentre Plus monitoring your jobsearch - we'll see. The pilot suggested not much, at greater cost. 

There are of course some claimants for whom a reference that they turned up on time, did what they were told, and did this regularly for a long time, would actually help. 


Agree with the costs - no question WP is cheaper than New Deal, Employment Zones,etc. For ESF Families what is perhaps muddying the water is the number of Progress Measures that are being claimed and co-funded through SFA/EFA provision.

Most providers I know are using their ALR budget to fund provision which is claimed through SFA and DWP (through the Progress Measure payment). This to me is how ESF Families providers are surviving - it's certainly not through the provision itself which is a loss leader. That said, joining up SFA and DWP funding is surely common sense anyway for most Providers - hence why some WP Primes have recently acquired SFA contracts or have bought SFA funded organisations to bridge this gap.

Re: CWP - overl expensive and likely to be ineffective as not enough link to skills. It's obvious to say but DWP/SFA really need to sit in a room together and design joint initiatives.

Agree Dave. Lloyds Development Capital bought JHP, bought Learndirect and put them together, then Learndirect bought out a large number of Learndirect sub-contractors and rebranded them as Learndirect Centres to provide everything under one brand and maximise revenue per individual. It's happening on a smaller scale too which is good business sense.

Agree about SFA/DWP too.

Too big to fail.

@skoorby Pedants OK.

People who mis-spell headlines (including in their CVs) don't help their chances of finding work.

The Work Programme is about *** Iain Duncan Smith and the Tory party not bowing down to any word of 'failure' rather than relooking at both the policies and practices that can do more to ignite confidence in a programme that dominates the market. Sadly, and this also reflects a weakness of political opposition, the Labour Party remains SILENT on this programme.. and have failed to rally support for those challenged groups who are skilled, but who are let down by a Work Programme who offers Tesco, KFC jobs!! The Work Programme can do better!!

Moderator: mildly edited to remove unnecessary pejorative phrase. Labour would add their main position is a guaranteed job, with an employment programme before that stage.

IAS - I posted this a good while ago but the sentiment stands true now.

The issue around supporting professionals is a really interesting one.

The biggest question has to be can / does that profession still employ people?

Is there a point where all of the experience in the world in a given profession is, solely in terms of job-hunting, no longer worth anything?

What support do you, as a professional need / want?

In another thread I referred to the often mooted 'real training for real jobs' mantra that is heard. So, what real training? What real jobs? If you were to be retrained as say a HGV Driver (Just an example - don't get all excited) then can the industry support the influx of recently qualified individuals? Bev's post earlier suggests not, you can train countless teachers but there are only so many classrooms.

So, what then? Look at industries that are expanding and hiring staff, the W2W industry is doing that but gets accused of peddling minimum wage jobs.

A lot of the forums are full of detractors saying that their needs aren't met - but seldom do they expressly say what their needs are.

If it's training you need - then doing what? I'm about to embark on an MA to re-train in my chosen field so that's two years where I'll be doing anything I can to be working in a related field to enhance my employability at the end of my course.

Professional training is carried out over a period of time, and frankly the Work Programme isn't the Education and Re-Training Programme.

I fully understand the frustration felt by professionals, so much effort and time given over to developing skills that for a whole host of reasons, the employment market no longer supports. Just like the airline pilots following 9/11. No Government initiative is going to force or influence the job market to re-employ excess staff.

Like the commercial pilots I mentioned earlier, is there a point where the priority is placed on looking for any suitable job rather than within a chosen field or profession? Who, if anyone makes that decision and then who if anyone ensures it happens? I think at the heart of it the removal of that autonomy forms the greatest issue for most people on the Work Programme.

What exactly is wrong with working at KFC or Tesco? I worked in a restaurant and a supermarket in the past and wouldn't discount either as being an important part of my development.

@ Ex Advisor

As a ex professional now working in a supermarket i found that the work programme has no difference in there approach to professionals, school levers,alcoholics or any group it was mass job application with the threat of sanctions if you did not comply."real training for real jobs" in my first WP appointment after being told the hype by the JCP i asked about training which at the time consisted of English and maths tests or interview training.Training is no good as a mass roll out of any old courses CSCS cards or fork lift truck licence but discretion of the WP to offer funding where there is a skill gap in a local area.If the WP isn't the Education and Re-Training Programme was does it cost XX billions to make mass applications?.What exactly is wrong with working at KFC or Tesco nothing but the movement of Ex professionals towards the minimum wage jobs cuts the income tax of the government and a downward spiral of cuts and lower living standards which we have had and will see for years to come.

Dear Ex-Advisor, you response to my reply dated 30/9/14 is a welcome as it asks "what support do I need in order to achieve goals?" This is seldom a question asked.

As someone who successfully transferred sales management and business development skills into the public and third sectors, and amid a recession that encouraged a change in employer attitudes, we had a Work Programme that failed to be innovative to broaden its employer engagement remit that will, ultimately, help clients. As I also acknowledge that many have been failed by a recession - and their businesses also failed - I have found it strange that I, as one those failed and experienced homelessness as a direct result, was simply offered Tesco or KFC jobs by Work Programme contractors.

Employer engagement is a key part of gaining an opportunity to promote a SKILLED group of individuals who, now, have a gap in their employment as a result of failings. But yet, it isn't done by WP contractors. WHY? An opportunity missed!

Also, as someone whose management career has always been responded directly by an employer/business owner in words "when can you start and how much do you want to earn", one can imagine how frustrating it has been to acknowledge that things are certainly different in the third and public sectors.

Having written "observation' reports in support of my local Employment Commission, these reports, commended by the leader of my council - substantially focused on giving a VOICE to proactive job seekers - received NO feedback and support from my local Jobcentre Manager... and other groups who one would expect would be commendable and motivated to give me the employment related support I needed. THIS IS THE FRUSTRATION AND STRESS I have been through - a lack of proactive support from those in senior positions. Deeply Troubling!

Given the WP is dominant in employment support and private and third sector organisations apply for these contracts, CHANGE does not seem possible.

I have currently finished writing a business plan that I originally sought guidance from a professional friend. Having contacted someone of trust and contacts, I am now awaiting feedback and partnership in developing the plan.

My goal is to help other in their personal and professional development, and assisting with business plan writing and employability mentoring. Having felt proud at offering my services to volunteering as a social enterprise consultant and a mentor, my daily anxiety of having to return to a retail role I surpassed many years ago is, understandably, a reflection of the failure that exist in employment support.

Many people are having to - for the first time in their lives - as for HELP in employment support - as they have suffered failings by the State... and benefits have been erroneously stopped.. etc. How stressful for those who are skilled and remain resilient and determined to reinvent themselves in professional roles, but who continuously feel they are being failed again and again at the behest of a WP not fit to harness them.


@IAS2013 from moderator.

I've published this post that is perilously close to an advert for a proposed enterprise.

However, further attempts to post the same or related adverts in the discussion forum will not be allowed.

You will be aware that potential prime contractors, etc. regularly advertise for potential subcontractors (and pay for the adverts). This, and the job adverts, keep the site going.

Advertising is this way

Still does not answer,the WP is a political hot subject,it has failed,but too many reputations are at risk,who pays? The same people that paid for the Bankers!

November, 2014. The WP, I feel, has failed me - not providing the type of employer engagement support I needed to suite me with the right employers.

Though, I know I am not alone. The recession - amidst political and banking failings - saw the failing of viable small businesses and their owners, loss of homes and jobs. Thus, a skilled society exists. An aspirational employer has been suppressed by the lack of confidence in a testing market. Politically, failure... and more failure has been the causation that has motivated such effects.

Yes, political reputations have seemingly been a bigger reason not to listen, engage with WP clients and empower them with change. Also, where is the political opposition one may ask? SILENT.. ON THIS, AND ON SO MANY OTHER MATTERS OF FAILINGS!!

For the first time on people's lives, they are asking for 'HELP', the support to get back on their feet and achieve goals. They have been met with an appalling amount of failure - both in policy and in practice. I though that achieving Upwards Social Mobility was key to neighbourhoods, communities and society, as well as the overall economic growth? But, it seems that this is only for the selected few.

Having had to return to a role I surpassed over 20-years ago, understandably, stress and anxiety has been rife. With such a skilled history in a career which business development played a significant role, one does start to doubt themselves after continued failings.

Where on earth is the support for those who remained Resilient and Creative amidst such failings towards the harnessing of Voices and career goals they seek?

I think there's a harsh reality here in all of this. The DWP, from what I can see, does not see JSA as the place for aspiration, rather a safety net until someone is able to find something / anything.