The Work Programme is a mainstream employment programme for those who are or are at risk of becoming long term unemployed.

The Work Programme is delivered by a range of employment support specialists from the private, voluntary and public sectors. Providers are given flexibility to deliver support that is tailored to the needs of individual jobseekers rather than what is prescribed by Whitehall. To ensure value for money providers only get paid if they successfully place somebody into a sustainable job.Jobcentre Plus can refer jobseekers who need specialist employment support to the Work Programme for a maximum of two years.

Further information about how the Work Programme operates can be found by viewing our Policy Briefing.

ERSA’s stance

ERSA publishes Work Programme Job Start data on a quarterly basis. The lastest release found that 551,000 long term jobseekers had been helped into employment.  Of these, official government data shows that over 300,000 have moved into long term employment.

Moving people from long term unemployment has benefits to the jobseeker, employers and to the exchequer.  A report by European Economics released in September 2014 shows that the economic value of the Work Programme is likely to be around £18 billion.

ERSA is the only representative organisation who is a member of DWP’s Partnership Forum and plays an important role as the interface between DWP and both the prime and subcontractors delivering the Work Programme.  ERSA works in partnership with the DWP to ensure that the Work Programme can adjust to policy and implementation challenges as and when they arise.