The Work Programme is the controversial master plan of the UK Government’s Welfare to Work reforms.
In truth, there is good and bad outcomes in any reform. While some are salivating at the programme’s potential to remove benefits from people, care and employability providers warn of a trail of destruction left in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people.
Employers have voiced concerns about mandation of people to work for their benefits but also welcome a 2 year follow up of support when recruiting vulnerable people from the work programme.
In terms of the Recruit With Conviction agenda, the results to July 2012 show zero job outcomes for prison leavers, however this is a statistical caveat rather than an alarming result. Job outcomes for prison leavers should be available in the next round of statistics.
The alarning fact from the statistics is that in Scotland only 520 prisoners were attached to the work programme in the first reporting period of 4 months. During this time period RWC estimate 6,500 people have been liberated from Scottish Prisons. This means that less than 1 in 10 liberated prisoners are being attached to the Work Programme at a time when we are being told that the Work Programme will provide for this group of employment deprived individuals and Local Autority provision is slashed.
This is a lost opportunity for employers and for the reducing reoffending agenda. From employers perspective, they are missing out on the opportunity to rercruit people who often have a great attitude and aptitude for work because there are no resources to support 9 out of 10 liberated prisoners. In terms of reducing re-offending, employment is the single most important opportunity to cut crime.
Work Programme Attachments by contract area
Scottish Prison Stats 2011/12 (liberations)