The London Assembly today called on the Mayor to bring in measures to monitor the effectiveness of two work experience programmes after it emerged that just 4,800 out of 136,120 unemployed Londoners referred to one scheme got long-term jobs.
A motion agreed at today’s Assembly meeting said the Mayor’s plans for a performance management framework for the Government’s Work Programme were dropped and a work experience pilot involving the Greater London Authority has no rating or performance systems in place.
The Assembly also noted that the Work Programme and the new GLA work experience pilot are mandatory and were concerned that this could backfire by making participants feel punished and resentful.
Assembly Members called on the Mayor to introduce safeguards to monitor the success of the Work Programme and his own work experience pilot. They also called on him to make his scheme voluntary and allow participants to choose roles that will most benefit them.
Jenny Jones AM, who proposed the motion, said:
“What I am concerned about are unemployed people being messed around by bad policies. The Government's own evidence shows the Work Programme doesn't work and its monitoring and performance management processes aren’t up to scratch.
“The Mayor should bring back his own safeguards to ensure Londoners aren’t messed around on any work programme. I am also concerned that the Mayor wants to take away young people’s social security if they don’t take up his work experience, despite evidence showing this backfires. The Mayor must make the scheme voluntary.”
Fiona Twycross AM, who seconded the motion, said:
“I don’t disagree with the principle that those who can work should work, but the issue for young Londoners is a lack of opportunity, not a lack of motivation.
“I agree with the need to give people skills and help to get into work, but the Mayor's mandatory scheme ignores all the evidence about what works and is more about being tough on school leavers than helping them get on the employment ladder.”
The full text of the motion agreed at today’s meeting reads as follows:
“This Assembly notes that, of the 136,150 unemployed people in London referred to the Work Programme from June 2011 to July 2012, only 4,800 got sustained jobs. The Assembly is concerned that, on the basis of evidence commissioned or written by the Government, the Work Programme doesn’t appear to work on its own terms, that the benefit sanctions make little different to people taking up opportunities while increasing hardship, and that making work mandatory can backfire by making participants feel punished and resentful.
This Assembly notes that the Mayor had planned to establish an effective performance management framework to monitor how effective the Work Programme was, and, given the programme’s poor performance, regrets that the Mayor dropped these plans
This Assembly notes with concern that the GLA is a partner in a new mandatory work experience pilot, but that the GLA won’t be applying the proposed performance management framework or the well established Employability Performance Rating system to this pilot. The Assembly is also concerned that the work experience will be mandatory, despite evidence suggesting that voluntary work experience is more effective.
This Assembly therefore calls on the Mayor of London to:
- introduce these safeguards for his mandatory work experience pilot and for the wider Work Programme to protect Londoners
- make his work experience pilot voluntary and allow participants to choose work experience that will most benefit them.”
Notes for editors:
- See P2 of the Job Outcome Statistics for the Government’s Work Programme
- The motion was passed by 15 votes in favour to 7 votes against at a meeting of the full Assembly today. Watch the webcast.
- The Government’s Work Programme was introduced in June 2011 to help 2.4 million long-term unemployed and sickness benefit recipients find work. Private and voluntary sector organisations are paid according to results to get people into work, with extra incentives to support the hardest to help.
- See details of the Mayor’s joint pilot with the Department of Work and Pensions
- As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.
For more details, please contact Mark Demery in the Assembly Media Office on 020 7983 5769/4283. For out of hours media enquiries please call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit, Greater London Authority, on 020 7983 4100.