Earlier this week I was asked by the Brighton Argus for my reaction to the latest initiative to get people off benefits and into work that requires job seekers to undertake 37 hours per week “supervised job seeking activities”. See below my response. Unfortunately the Argus edited out the middle paragraph about where the DWP has been successful – when following localism principles and engaging with local charities to deliver outcomes.
“I support anything that genuinely helps people back into work but I don’t think this is it. The Department of Works and Pensions has an appalling track record of bold schemes which don’t work, such as the Work Programme which is proving to be a gigantic waste of money and is failing to help people into jobs. Claimants receive little practical help, and nothing is tailored to their individual needs.
“Ronald Reagan once said that the most frightening words in the English language are: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”. Where the DWP has had some success is when they work with small, local providers, usually in the charity sector, who have ways of working with individuals, addressing personal hurdles to employment, and providing guidance and support that helps people move from benefit and into work.
“At BHT we have run our Intern Programme for almost two years. In the first year 19 of the 39 participants got permanent employment within six months. We received no government funding. Meanwhile the Work Programme has continued to have money poured into it. I fear the same will be true of this new scheme.”