IDS should be a candidate for his own Work Programme


Iain Duncan Smith has failed to get Work Programme providers to “support” harder-to-help claimants into work, according to the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee.

It used the example of Employment and Support Allowance to illustrate its criticism, saying almost 90 per cent of claimants on the Work Programme have not moved into jobs.

This is no surprise to anybody. If it’s news to you, where have you been for the last three years?

Work Programme providers hit back against criticism in 2013 by saying they needed more money – a move that Vox Political reported as “an insult to everyone they have mishandled”.

This week, that criticism was justified: “Evidence shows that differential payments have not stopped contractors from focusing on easier-to-help individuals and parking harder-to-help claimants, often those with a range of disabilities including mental health challenges,” said the PAC report.

“Data from Work Programme providers shows that they are, on average, spending less than half what they originally promised on these harder to help groups.”

Here’s the knockout blow: “It is a scandal that some of those in greatest need of support are not getting the help they need to get them back to work and are instead being parked by providers because their case is deemed just too hard.”

Why is it a knockout blow? Because it is using the language of Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan ‘Returned To Unit’ ‘Services No Longer Required’ Smith.

Almost two years ago, on November 22, 2012, that blowhard appeared on the BBC’s Question Time, where he told Owen Jones that his DWP would make sure that nobody stayed parked on benefits.

“I didn’t hear you screaming about two and a half million people who were parked, nobody saw them, for over 10 years, not working, no hope, no aspiration,” he ranted.

And yet, here we are today. “Some of those in greatest need of support are… being parked by providers [chosen by Iain Duncan Smith, no less] because their case is deemed just too hard.”

In February 2013, Vox Political received BBC figures that suggested the Work Programme providers were being paid £1 billion per year by Iain Duncan Smith’s DWP – to park people on benefits where “nobody saw them”.

That day’s article suggested that the government should “adopt a strategy that we all know these companies use in order to boost their profits. Because they get paid on results, they concentrate on people more likely to generate a fee and sideline jobless clients who need more time and investment – a process known as ‘creaming and parking‘.

“It’s time to “park” all the work programme provider companies… The money saved will total billions.”

Alas, VP‘s recommendation fell on deaf ears and we have all paid the price – literally – in the year and nine months since.

Of course, as with all critical reports by Parliamentary committees, the PAC report falls flat where it makes its own recommendations.

“The Department must do more to encourage providers to work with harder-to-help groups by tackling poorly performing prime contractors and sharing information on what works. It should also collect and publish information from each provider on how much they are spending on different payment groups.”

For crying out loud – what’s the point of that? We know that Work Programme providers are never going to do anything other than park people in the ‘harder-to-help’ groups, as long as the taxpayer is funding them for results.

This report says nothing on how ‘poorly performing contractors’ are to be ‘tackled’, therefore that is not going to happen.

And publishing information on how much providers are spending on different payment groups – why? This information will not be made available if it is uncomplimentary to the government. Freedom of Information requests will fall on deaf ears – like those relating to the deaths of ESA claimants.

No, there’s only one way to use this information: As ammunition against Iain Duncan Smith.

He said he was going to help people who had been parked. He didn’t.

He said – to the Work and Pensions committee only yesterday, that the Work Programme was “outperforming” expectations and was “set to do even better”. It isn’t.

Let’s tell everybody we know about this liar. Get him kicked into his own Work Programme and see how he likes it.

Further reading

Other sites have produced excellent articles on this subject; here are some that have come to VP‘s attention:

Order of Truth

Ipswich Unemployed Action

Same Difference


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  1. keltyk November 7, 2014 at 2:22 am - Reply

    whoah… FFS don’t don’t encourage him, nobody wants his ‘help’. Help is Tory double-speak for harass, starve, agitate, kill. Anyone being helped by IDS is in dire need of actual humanitarian help.

  2. John Ingleson November 7, 2014 at 3:58 am - Reply

    Apt description ‘Creaming and Parking’ – don’t forget another ‘CP’ beloved of government contractors – ‘Cherry Picking’.

    Great article, Mike. So what more can we do now to get something done about this murderous oaf to try to save our vulnerable friends’ lives?

    Do the PAC accept opinions from the otherwise ignored public? Could we have a campaign or petition (as if there aren’t enough already)? Or is just contemplating some sort of action going to be too ‘vexatious’ for poor little RTU dIDumS (like our requests for the figures on ESA deaths)?

    I feel so frustrated that the punishment just keeps on relentlessly, despite being contradicted by all the evidence – and just any sort of humanitarian compassion for hundreds of thousands of severely sick and dying people – and anyone else unfortunate enough to be unemployed, who will doubtless soon be trying to claim ESA as a result of these psychopaths’ sadistic behaviour. No wonder there’s an NHS crisis!

    • Gazza November 7, 2014 at 7:00 pm - Reply

      John, I must gently point out, “Stock” which has been used in the past to describe the unemployed – short for Live Stock. That says it all. Come little piglets line up for the slaughter now….

  3. Steve grant November 7, 2014 at 7:33 am - Reply

    Mad dogs are put down as an act of compassion….IDS doesn’t deserve compassion…..

    • bethan November 9, 2014 at 3:41 am - Reply

      It would be compassion towards US.

  4. Mr.Angry November 7, 2014 at 8:18 am - Reply

    IDS would be extremely easy to place in a work programme, there is a great demand for grave diggers which would suit him down to the ground “Excuse the pun”

  5. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl) November 7, 2014 at 8:39 am - Reply

    IDS seems to have an unnatural dislike of the very people he is employed to assist. He is totally unsuitable for his post and should realize that he is nothing more than a public employee. I should like to know who gave him his post and the reasons.

    • Mike Sivier November 7, 2014 at 10:54 am - Reply

      David Cameron gave him the post. Believe it or not, the stated reason has to do with ‘caring Conservatism’ (remember that?) – the idea that, after RTU had his ‘Road to Damascus’ moment up in Glasgow, he cared about those on benefits and would do what he could to help them.
      I know.
      It all seems like a very bad joke now.

  6. Jeffery Davies November 7, 2014 at 9:15 am - Reply

    This man should be held to account but slippery he is would have that get out of jail card but wwhot ever hes touched has wasted bilions not millions wonder do the electric realise that hes wasted vast amounts on his grand scheme of ghings but never worry this man pants and breakies you pay for now theres a thought take it all away let him be a social scrounger stacking shelves singing whist he works onward christian soldier jeff

  7. Michele Witchy Eve November 7, 2014 at 9:17 am - Reply

    It would seem that all sides are now agreeing that a large percentage of people are ‘too hard to help’ – which begs the question: why aren’t that large percentage put back onto the welfare benefits they should have been on rather than leaving them on work programmes?

    • Mike Sivier November 7, 2014 at 10:50 am - Reply

      I’m not sure that’s what they’re agreeing at all. It seems more likely that the WP providers just aren’t bothering to try, because it’s cheaper – and more lucrative – to help those who are easiest to deal with.
      As the article states, that is the exact opposite of what Iain Duncan Smith was saying on Question Time in 2012, which is why I call him a liar for what he said then.

      • Michele Witchy Eve November 7, 2014 at 11:31 am - Reply

        Point taken Mike, but the fact remains that both IDS and the WP providers keep using terms such as ‘hard to deal with’ without actually providing any real answers as to how they (DWP/WP) can/will tackle the reasons for it being so ‘hard’, other than throwing money uselessly at private companies.

        It would be interesting to see a comprehensive assessment of the total costs to the tax-paying public of the welfare reforms in general, its associated costs (kicked on to local authorities, charities etc) and the privatisation of elements of the welfare system, compared to what the costs would have been if there had been no welfare reforms.

        • Mike Sivier November 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm - Reply

          It would be very hard to work out what the costs would have been if no changes had been made, I think – social security being such a fluid area of spending, with people coming onto, and going off of, benefits so often. Other than that, I agree.

  8. Michele Witchy Eve November 7, 2014 at 9:28 am - Reply

    As a participant of a work programme I’m in the wonderful position of, according to my provider’s advisor, doing more on my own to find a job than would be the case if limited to the help the provider offers. So I find myself ‘parked’, and often hindered (by the way the work programme is set up) in my pursuit of employment. And I’m only a ‘hard’ case because of my age and perhaps my use of a walking stick. It would be laughable if it weren’t so stressful navigating the minefield that is today’s welfare system.

  9. chopale November 7, 2014 at 11:59 am - Reply

    Considering the number of posts on here. We need to get this on the main stream news slots. We need a campaign to to show the status Q’ of the media bias against the truth. we need a open faced demonstration all over this country. Young and old alike. out side every government building. and every so called job center.

    • Mike Sivier November 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm - Reply

      Fine by me!

  10. Donna Chadwick November 8, 2014 at 12:44 am - Reply

    I spent 2 years on the work programme and was without a doubt parked by Groundwork. My problem? As a single parent with nobody to look after my kids I had to have set regular hours not flexible between 7am and 9pm that employers are demanding

  11. intherubberdub November 8, 2014 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    It will remain unchallenged he as done for four years!

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