Audit office: back to work scheme flawed

THE GOVERNMENT’S new programme to get people back into employment has been rushed and is based on overly optimistic expectations, the National Audit Office (NAO) said this morning.

The quick one-year turnaround of the new Work Programme “has had benefits”, the NAO said, yet warned that no pilot was conducted, and that the IT system is lagging behind.

“The Department [for Work and Pensions] needs to ensure that improvements to the IT system are delivered on schedule,” the NAO warned. “In the meantime, there is an increased risk of fraud and error going undetected.”

The speedy start of the scheme – which will supersede nearly all of the current “welfare to work” programmes – could also cause problems for businesses.

“While the scale of ambition and desire to get things moving should be applauded,” the CBI commented this morning, “we agree that the pace at which the programme was rolled out posed a number of challenges to both providers and the government.”

The DWP claims that 40 per cent of largest group of job seekers in the Programme will get jobs, yet the NAO puts the figure at 26 per cent.