DWP'​s own assessment of mandatory work activity programme finds it has '​no impact on the likelihood of being employed'​]Thousand​s of jobseekers have been referred to a mandatory work scheme that has done nothing for their employment chances, has made some of them more likely to claim benefits over the long term, and has led to a proportion subsequently signing on for sickness support, government research has found.

The assessment by the Department for Work and Pensions of its own mandatory work activity (MWA) programme was filed at the House of Commons library late on Tuesday evening, three hours after the employment minister, Chris Grayling, announced he would be pumping in £​5m of extra funding to expand the scheme so it could take up to 70,000 referrals a year.

The government also announced that it would toughen the sanctions regime, making it even harder to temporarily sign off benefits to avoid being forced into unpaid work for up to four weeks.

The government'​s peer-reviewed study concluded that being referred by jobcentre managers to mandatory unpaid work for 30 hours a week was good at pushing people off jobseeker'​s allowance in the short term.

However, over a five-month period, those who did not eventually start mandatory work were more likely to return to out-of-work benefits when compared with those who had never been referred in the first place.
Overall, out of those being referred, there was no long term deterrent effect on benefit claims. DWP researchers said this total of people returning to benefits included a 3% increase in those claiming employment support allowance, a benefit given to those people suffering with serious health problems.

The study, which compared the outcomes of more than 3,000 MWA referrals and 125,00 non-referred jobseekers, also concluded that the scheme had zero effect in helping people get a job.

Full Story in the Guardian



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