Programme to help Redbridge people into work labelled a ‘miserable failure’

A government programme designed to help people find employment has been described as a “miserable failure” after less than four per cent who applied during a 12-month period in Redbridge managed to find work.

The Work Programme, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), is struggling to get residents into work despite 2,920 people being referred to the scheme, according to figures from Redbridge Labour Party.

The statistics also show there were 12.2 claimants to every vacancy in the northern half of the borough, and 11.5 claimants per vacancy in the south.

Bernadette Benn, chief executive of Barnabas Workshops, High Road, Ilford – which helps people to find work – said: “We have had awful feedback from people on the programme.

“The main providers have a lack of local knowledge and little connection to the small and medium sized businesses in the borough, which takes time to build up.”

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Jackie Levene, 51, added: “The Work Programme helped me to get a job in retail after a successful trial. However it took around 12 months to be offered a job, and I think I was quite lucky.


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“The programme seems to focus on younger job seekers and those who may have a language barrier or need help with a computer. They need to realise older people need help too.”

A minority of the people who were referred on to the programme between June 2011 and July 2012 – amounting to 3.4 per cent – found work lasting more then six months, according to national statistics.

Labour Cllr Bert Jones said: “We’ve learned that the Work Programme is a miserable failure. It’s just not working. The government should be doing more to subsidise small businesses in the private sector to encourage them to employ more job seekers.”

Redbridge Council is currently working with the Work Programme providers to join up the support people looking for jobs are offered from all organisations in the borough.

A council spokesman said it was doing “everything we can” to help out-of-work residents, adding: “Work Programme providers are encouraged to actively engage with the council-led Work Redbridge partnership [which] has recently been given a further £115,000 funding to continue for another two years.”

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