Press release: Privatisation of employment service should be next step in government’s welfare reforms

The Association of Learning Providers (ALP), which represents the majority of providers who have been awarded contracts today to deliver the government’s new Work Programme, has welcomed the trust which ministers have placed in private and voluntary sector providers to deliver such a vital component of their welfare reforms.

The Association believes that the adoption of a ‘black box’ design for the programme will prove to be enormously beneficial in terms of enabling providers to be flexible in the type of support they can offer unemployed people on a case-by-case basis. 

ALP has previously expressed concerns about the viability of the ‘payment by results’ terms within the Work Programme provider contracts.  However it recognises that the programme should be given a chance to succeed and it has taken on board the recent assurances that the employment minister gave to the Commons select committee in the event that contractors drop out of the programme. 

Under the Work Programme, providers will be referred clients from the government’s employment service, Jobcentre Plus, after one year of being out of work, but ALP is asking whether unemployed people should have to wait to get specialist support. 

Graham Hoyle OBE, ALP’s chief executive, said: “We applaud the radical approach that the government has taken on reforms to welfare-to-work framework and the confidence which it has placed in the provider network to deliver sustainable results when unemployment is on the increase.  In keeping with the overall reform of public services, the next logical step is to privatise Jobcentre Plus and to allow it to compete with other providers in assisting people who have been out of work for a short or longer period.”