Work in progress
It is clear the Work Programme is not perfect (Job hunt firms ‘gaming’ system, study claims, 19 February). Claimants are still treated in groups based on the primary benefit they are claiming, meaning Work Programme providers are paid too much for a claimant who it is easy to find a job for and too little for those with significant problems. We have also seen steep declines in economic growth since the programme was created and big variations in regional job creation. All these factors mean that the Work Programme will have to change to ensure that support for the very hard-to-help unemployed is as good as it can be. In practice that should mean assessing the needs of hard-to-help groups right from day one of an unemployment claim. For the very hardest to help, this would allow the government to bring in a new mechanism that focuses rewards to providers on moving these claimants closer to employment, rather than pushing them immediately into work.