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Dr Neil Lee

Work Programme announcement

Authors: Dr Neil Lee Neil Lee

10 June 2011


We welcome many elements of the government’s new initiative, such as a focus on sustained employment and increased flexibility. A number of features of the programme – payment by results, the emphasis on employment sustainability and the ‘black box’ approach which will incentivise innovation – are, we think, good ideas. The use of private contractors, charities and local organisations is also a good way of making the system responsive to local demand.

We don’t think – as some in the media have reported today – that it will be impossible to deliver in these places, but it will be harder. The contractors who won these areas on a bidding system know that these are deprived areas, and will of course have strategies in place.

However, our argument is that more may be needed to support people into jobs in deprived areas. It will be important for the government to closely monitor the performance over the coming months to make sure that everyone is receiving the help the need no matter where they live. If significant variations in performance arise across different areas the government may need to revise the payment structure so it reflects regional differences in labour demand.