Media Release

Work Programme statistics: initial reaction

The Work Programme is the Government’s flagship back-to-work scheme, aiming to help 2.4 million long-term unemployed people and sickness benefit recipients find work between 2011 and 2018. Described by the Department for Work and Pensions as a “revolution in back to work support”, the scheme is designed to pay providers only when they succeed in getting unemployed people into sustained employment.

As the Government seeks to introduce payment-by-results to other policy areas, particularly offender management, the Work Programme is seen as a trailblazer for this kind of commissioning method.

Today the Department for Work and Pensions has released updated official statistics showing how providers have been performing against what is expected of them by the Department of Work and Pensions for the 2012/13 financial year.

The first official Work Programme figures were published in November 2012, looking at how successful providers had been in getting the long-term unemployed referred to them into sustained jobs. These highlighted that over twelve months all providers had failed to meet the minimum performance levels set out in the Work Programme’s Invitation to Tender.

Today’s statistics show that on average providers have achieved performance levels in Year 2 that is far closer to the minima required of them by the DWP but they have still – on average – failed to meet these minimum levels. For people on sickness benefit (ESA) providers have significantly underperformed.

The Government has made clear that failing to meet minimum levels of performance can lead to contract termination.

The SMF will be producing further analysis looking at the performance levels broken down by provider and payment area and will update this webpage throughout the day.

Work Programme: Year 2 performance by payment group


JSA 18 to 24

JSA 25 and over

New ESA claimants


Referrals (thousands)





Outcomes (thousands)





Actual performance level





Minimum performance level (as set out in the invitation to Tender)




Actual contract performance compared to minimum levels

The charts below show how performance in the 40 contract areas compares to the minimum level expected by DWP in Year 2. These are broken down by jobseeker group.

Blog Image Chart JSA 18 to 24 Group provider performance by contract

Blog Image Chart JSA 25 Group provider performance by contract

Blog Image Chart ESA new claimants Group provider performance by contract


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