Thursday, 24 April 2014

Landlord calls for extra work programme cash

A landlord working with harder to reach groups for the government’s £5 billion flagship work programme has called for more resources to tackle long-term unemployment.

James Walsh, opportunities manager at the Bromford Group, issued a statement as figures were released today showing of the 1.2 million long-term unemployed referred to the programme only 321,000 people had entered work so far.

Mr Walsh said the work programme’s payment by results model is ‘not financially viable and threatens our long-term sustainability within the work programme’.

The group prepares people who are some of the furthest away from the work place for employment.

‘Many of our customers have been out of work for a number of years and have complex health, social and skills needs,’ Mr Walsh said.

‘As such, we must spend upwards of 18 months without financial support, getting customers “work-ready” through a variety of intensive methods to identify and repackage key skills, before they can even begin to consider applying for jobs.’

He suggested a ‘progression payment’ is made at regular intervals for individuals as work programme providers prepare them for employment.

‘We are committed to helping customers to be their best, but we need to ensure our costs are covered,’ Mr Hunt said.

Mr Hunt said Bromford does not see the work programme as negative, and it had been ‘successful in helping the unemployed kick-start their careers’.

The figures, released by the trade body Employment Related Services Association today, did show there was a rise in the number of unemployed that had entered the workforce through the work programme by the end of March 2013 compared to the end of September 2012 from 207,000 to 321,000. The programme started in 2011 and was designed to get long-term unemployed people back into work.

But only a third of people who had been on the programme for at least a year had found employment and under half of all young people who had been on the scheme for nearly two years had found work.

The work and pensions select committee slammed the programme in a report in May saying it was not reaching the most disadvantaged long-term unemployed, including homeless people.

Homelessness charity St Mungo’s confirmed in May last year it had pulled out of three five-year work programme contracts because of a lack of referrals to its service. This was two months after charity Single Homeless Project also dropped out saying the programme was ‘not adequately resourced or structured’.

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