The Work Programme is a new payment-for-results welfare-to-work scheme that was launched in June 2011. This document from the department for Work and Pensions describes how the Programme was designed to overcome the weaknesses of previous initiatives for getting people back to work.
The Work Programme gives private contractors the task of finding jobs for 500,000 unemployed people annually on the basis of a payments by results system. It will form the basis for further public service delivery reform covering prison rehabilitation, drug offenders and problem families.
Service providers are paid almost entirely for results. The longer a customer stays in work, the more delivery partners will be paid, so there are strong incentives to continue support once participants are in work. The programme supports a wide range of participants and payments are higher for helping participants who are further from the labour market into sustained work.
Local providers are best placed to identify the most effective way of helping people into sustained work, and have been given new freedom to do so without prescription from government. Requirements for providers have been minimised as far as possible, allowing them to innovate and focus their resources where it will do most good.
Five year contracts give prime providers a firm basis on which to build long term partnerships with their specialist supply chains of local providers, and other partners, including local government. Putting clear incentives in place over an extended period creates time for these partnerships to invest in the infrastructure and resources required for success.