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Work Progamme data release: Is the employer the missing piece of the puzzle?


The recent Work Programme data released by the Department of Work and Pensions may not be top of the news agenda, but it featured big for me during that week.

It is really great to see that figures are improving, with more people facing long-term unemployment or other significant barriers getting into employment. At the Work Programme Best Practice meeting I attended the day before the data was released, I noted with interest a positive push from Welfare to Work contractors for greater transparency around the data, achievements and challenges facing the Work Programme.

The missing piece that has struck me throughout the ongoing Work Programme debate, however, is the absence of discussion about the employer. When success for the Work Programme providers and DWP equals sustained jobs, the key to success is surely the employer. With a greater, more tailored approach to working with employers, could the Work Programme do more?