7 out of 10 charities taking part in the work programme say that their contracts are at risk of failure according to a report published by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO): “​The Work Programme - Perceptions and Experiences of the Voluntary Sector”​.

The report found that 47% of charities felt their contracts could fail within the next six months, and that 26% thought their work programme contracts were at risk of failure before the end of the term of the contract. In addition to the risk of failure, 48% of charities were subsidising the work programme from their own resources.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive officer at NCVO said:

“​The sustainability of these contracts is a major cause for concern. This programme is clearly not working for many charities involved in its delivery. More worryingly, this will have a damaging knock-on effect to the many jobseekers who desperately need the specialist support that charities can deliver.... We are calling on the government to investigate current funding arrangements to determine why so many contracts under the work programme are at risk of failure and why some charities are subsidising this work.”​

Third Sector reports Joe Irvin, chief executive of the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) as saying the “​flawed”​ commissioning process had led to some charities being forced to close, “​but the real tragedy is that people out of work who want help finding jobs are being denied the support they deserve.”​

Charles Fraser, chief executive of St Mungo'​s, a charity that withdrew from the work programme, told Third Sector:

“​Our biggest concern is that in its current form the work programme is not reaching those furthest from the job market. At first we found that homeless people weren'​t being referred to the programme. But now we'​re discovering that if and when they are on the programme, support is dire. Even our clients who are nearer the job market are concerned. The basic principle of the work programme is to help the long-term unemployed, but to do this it needs more flexibili​ty.”​

More information can be found on the NCVO website and the Third Sector website.


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