7 January 2010

Mock-up of DWP memoThe DWP has launched an urgent consultation exercise after admitting that the Pathways to Work programme has had no effect whatsoever on employment rates amongst claimants. The only people who are benefiting are the private sector companies making millions in profits and their chief executives who have received new year’s honours.

Research released by the DWP shows that the Pathways to Work programme, which will cost an estimated £1 billion, has not had any effect on the number of claimants moving into work.  The DWP had previously claimed that studies showed that claimants in Pathways areas were 25% more likely to be in a job after 18 months than in non-Pathways areas. 

However, these figures were not based solely on people who actually claimed incapacity benefit, but on people who had made enquiries about incapacity benefit whether they went on to claim or not.  This means that the study included many people whose health improved and who were able to return to their jobs without ever making a claim for benefits.

More recent research published by the DWP has shown that, in reality, incapacity benefit claimants in Pathways to Work areas are no more likely than claimants in non-Pathways areas to find work. As the DWP explain, in a masterpiece of understatement:
“Pathways is less effective than we first thought.

The programme hasn’t been as successful against our most important objective as we had hoped – to help people into work.”

In fact, to put it bluntly, a project which is costing the taxpayer £1 billion is having no useful effect whatsoever because it was based on fundamentally flawed research.

At least, it’s having no useful effect for claimants.  People like A4E’s Emma Harrison have become millionaires as a result of programmes like Pathways and have received awards in the new year’s honours list.  (See Honours for DWP and A4E).

What is more, with the introduction of employment and support allowance, the average claimant is going to be more incapacitated and harder to find work for than under incapacity benefit.  The likelihood, therefore, of the Pathways to Work being effective under employment and support allowance is even smaller.

However, rather than scrap the entire project, the DWP have now launched an urgent consultation exercise to try to figure out how to make Pathways work.  The consultation began on 4 January and runs until 29 January.

Benefits and Work members who have endured Pathways to work interviews may wish to share their experiences with the DWP. 

You can download a full copy of the report and details of how to take part in the consultation from this link:



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