So finally they’re published!
The statistics on the Work Programme, that is. And about time too. The Government has done good things in making the public sector more transparent and open, but the decision not to publish this Work Programme data until now was pretty indefensible. As was the decision to try to divert attention away from the numbers - by briefing the Telegraph about the number of jobseekers “not playing by the rules”.
The stats, it has to be said, do not make comfortable reading. The Work Programme appears to have missed its minimum performance targets in the first year. This will in large part be down to those targets being based on overly optimistic assumptions back in 2010 about how well the economy would do – but a welter of different numbers and commentaries is already hitting the ether. ACEVO members can get their heads round the numbers by coming to our briefing on 6 December, where Dave Simmonds from the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion will be giving us his analysis. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.
But the important thing is now that the numbers get better. The task is to get the long-term unemployed into work, and prevent them from being left on the scrap heap as has happened before. That is what we need to focus on. So ACEVO is launching a review, overseen by a group of members, to report in spring 2013. It will look at the challenges ahead, and ask what we need to do to meet them. And it will make recommendations for what should come after the Work Programme once the current contracts are over. Again, members can find out more by coming along on the 6th. We need to focus on solutions – and that’s what we’re going to do.