Work Programme statistics: Inclusion analysis

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Inclusion comment

The Work Programme continues to show improved results within a period of increasing employment and falling unemployment numbers and rates. Performance for those who started in the last two years has been higher than that for the very large numbers who started in the first two years of the programme.


Performance for disabled people and older participants remains far below overall performance levels. When the challenge is to halve the gap in disabled employment rates, this is a substantial challenge for the remaining two years of Work Programme referrals and for the programmes that follow.

Disabled people are not the same as ESA claimants - 58% of disabled Work Programme participants claim JSA - so they are at high risk of being 'parked' in favour of those with a better chance of earning Job Outcome payments.

There is relatively good performance for 18-24 year olds but poor results for the over-50s. The design of the Work Programme did not take into account the additional disadvantages in recruitment that older jobseekers face.

Work Programme providers have less than two years of referrals remaining to the end of their contracts in March 2017 - but will need to provide support and ensure job outcomes for a further two years and provide in-work and sustainment support beyond that. This will be a challenge when the focus is on the successor programmes.


DWP has published statistics from the beginning of the Work Programme in June 2011 to the end of June 2015. In this data release, we are able to report on the two-year job outcome performance i.e whether or not an individual has secured a job outcome during the entire length of time on the programme.

The headline results are:

  •   Out-turn performance has substantially exceeded our economy-adjusted benchmarks and is close to the unadjusted DWP expectations.
  •   The two-year Job Outcome performance is 25.3%, 0.1 percentage points below DWP's expectations. This figure is for the whole Work Programme from June 2011 to June 2015.
  •   Two-year performance over the whole programme has increased slightly, from 24.9% in the June release to 25.3% now.
  •   For those completing the programme in the latest two months, two-year performance has risen from around 27% to around 29%.
  •   1.76 million people have been referred to the Work programme since June 2011, equivalent to 45% of the current total out of work benefit claimants (3.9 million).
  •   459,400 people have had a 'sustained' job outcome through the Work Programme.
  •   33.4% of all 18-24 year olds referred to the Work Programme have had a sustained job outcome - across all Payment Groups.
  •   32.9% of lone parents on the Work Programme have had a sustained Job Outcome.
  •   ERSA - the Providers Trade Association, report that over 731,000 participants have started work - and may eventually get a 'Job Outcome'.
  •   12.1% of ESA new claimants get a job outcome within two years, above DWP's expectation of 10%. The equivalent figure for ex-Incapacity Benefit ESA participants is 4.5%.
  •   People with a disability (15.9% get job outcomes) and those aged 50 and over (14.2% get job outcomes) are the least successful in getting a job through the Work Programme.
  •   Two-year performance in the lowest performing area - the North East (22%) - is 5.9 percentage points lower than in the highest performing area - the East of England (28%). The gap is closing - slowly.
  •   Local authority performance shows even wider differences - unemployment rate differences are part of the reason.

Work Programme overall performance

In general, performance is below DWP benchmark indicators and in line with, or above, our economy adjusted indicators.
On the two-year measure performance has increased by 0.4 percentage points to 25.3%. This is in line with what we would expect from previous performance on the one-year measure. On our one-year measure there has been a slight increase of 0.2 percentage points with performance at 11.9. Looking at the overall job outcome measure, covering the first 19 months of programme referrals, performance is at 28.0%. This is 0.2 percentage points higher than last quarter's figure.

Figure 1: Inclusion Job Outcome Measures for all participants: actual performance compared to DWP expectations adjusted for economy (the equivalent minimum benchmark) - Jun 2011-Jun 2014 referrals

Work programme Outcome statistics


The two-year measure is a robust indicator of performance. This shows that more than 1 in 4 of participants (25.3%) of participants secure a sustained job outcome within two years.

However, this remains below what was stated as initial expectations for the programme. When we adjust for the fact that economic performance since 2011 has been below that expected at the time, performance looks better and is above our economy-adjusted expectation.

Performance for ESA (and disabled people in general) remains low. DWP have separated out the New ESA Claimants group into two parts - one for those who were originally expected to go on the programme, and a second one for the expanded group with a 12-month expectation before they would be fit for work.

The original group shows a strong and welcome increase in performance. The second group, with a longer period before being fit for work, continue to have low job outcomes, but also show improvement in performance.

Increasing performance for all groups remains a priority as the economy improves. All must share in any improvement in job outcomes and job sustainment.

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