Book News: June 3rd, 2008

This report from the thinktank Policy Exchange, examines the highly controversial recommendation of the Freud report on ‘WelfareTo Work’ that employment services should be contracted out.

The Policy Exchange analysis of other countries’ experiences leads to the conclusion that contracting out employment services could slash unemployment and save the taxpayer over a billion pounds a year.

The essays in this compilation show how the use of the private and voluntary sectors has brought improvements, for example in Wisconsin where welfare rolls fell by 80 percent over three years. If similar changes in the UK achieved only a quarter of this change, the annual budget for Incapacity Benefit claimants would be cut by1 billion pounds and the cost of benefits for lone parents with children over seven by around 300 pounds million.

If the UK matched the 50 per cent drop in job placement costs achieved in Australia, the cost of operating the welfare system would be cut by 250 million pounds.

The report cautions that while several countries have slashed the costs of their employment programmes after introducing contracting out by greatly improving jobseekers’ chances of finding work quickly, it is clear that a piecemeal approach is potentially hazardous.

The report is available from PolicyExchange.