A BBC report reveals that some charities are deciding to leave the government’​s Work Programme because the payments they receive are too low to sustain the level of support needed to enable the long-term unemployed to get into work.

The Single Homeless Project (SHP) in London is withdrawing from the scheme because it is “​not sustainable”​ to continue. The chief executive of SHP, Liz Rutherfoord explained the payments received by the charity were “​not enough to meet the needs of the clients being referred to us.”​ She said that most of the clients were not “​job-ready, or even in a position to be searching for work, ...”​

In a separate article in Third Sector Ms Rutherfoord reveals that in 9 months 64 people had been sent to the charity from Seetec, the prime provider they were sub-contracted to. SHP received up-front payments of between £​400 and £​600 per person. If the person found work within 6 months, SHP would receive an additional payment. However the people being referred to SHP from Seetec appear to have had complex problems that needed to be addressed before any job search could begin.

Baroness Stedman-Scott, Conservative peer and chief executive of Tomorrow’​s People, an employment charity, told the BBC “​The principle of the working capital transferring down has not materialised in the way we aspired it would.”​ Only 4 of 54 separate Work Programme sub-contracts were financially viable for Tomorrow’​s People. Baroness Stedman-Scott explained that there does not seem to be the resources available to provide the intervention and support required to assist the long-term unemployed.

A spokesperson for Seetec said that the withdrawal of SHP “​doesn’​t reflect the conversations we have had with SHP. It is not something we can comment further on.”​

Commenting on the withdrawal of SHP Chris Grayling, employment minister said “​The deals that are done between sub-contractors and prime contractors are entirely down to them.”​

When asked by the BBC if the government should be doing more to ensure prime providers do not pass all of the financial risk on to smaller charities, the employment minister responded “​It is certainly the case that some organisations have done deals which are not working for them but I can’​t be the person who does the deals for them ... We have created an environment where we have given –​ particularly the voluntary sector sub-contractors –​ all the cards in their hands, but if they haven’​t used those cards, that is not something the government can do for them.”​

The BBC report can be found here.

The article in Third Sector can be found here.


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