Figures released by the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), the trade body for the welfare to work industry, show that 207,883 jobseekers have found employment through the Work Programme since its launch in June 2011 through to the end of September 2012.
The Work Programme is the largest and most ambitious government back to work programme ever commissioned and caters for the long term unemployed or those with substantial difficulties in finding work. Key findings from ERSA’s analysis of Job Start data include:
ERSA also released figures showing that the Work Programme is proving better value to the taxpayer than any comparable welfare to work programme in the last 20 years, with an average ‘cost-per-job’ of £2,097.
The ERSA figures, collected from across all 18 prime contractors of the Work Programme, have been produced to support the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) release of official data on sustained jobs. The ERSA ‘Job Start’ data refers to the number of jobseekers who have entered work, while the official government data only relates to jobseekers who have been in employment, in the majority of cases, for at least six months. Given the time-lag, the ONS figures only provide a very limited illustration of performance.
In announcing the publication of Job Start data, ERSA chief executive, Kirsty McHugh, said:
"Although it is still relatively early days for the Work Programme, these figures show that the Work Programme is making a real difference to people’s lives. Not only have over 200,000 people been moved from long term unemployment into work, but there is clear evidence that month on month performance is building which means there will be a consistent rise in sustained employment numbers in the future. As the Work Programme is delivering an average cost of only £2,097 per job, these performance levels represent good value for both jobseekers and the taxpayer."
In response to the publication of the Government's Job Outcome data, Kirsty said:
"We welcome the publication today of Work Programme outcome data. However, the figures released by the Government are extremely limited in scope and only refer to the start up period of the Work Programme which co-incided with the double dip recession of late 2011. Since March this year, the Work Programme has really taken off and has now helped over 200,000 people into work. Because of the time lag between people starting work and counting as a government ‘outcome’, it will take some time before these show up in official government figures."