The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) has today welcomed the publication of the latest tranche of official figures for the Work Programme which show that 168,000 long term unemployed jobseekers are now in sustained (six month plus) employment. This is a 27 per cent increase on the end of June figures which recorded 132,000 having sustained employment to at least this point.

The official government data also shows that jobseekers are gaining employment at a faster rate than hitherto with jobseekers joining the programme in June 2012 entering employment more rapidly than those joining one year before.   The data reinforces the more positive picture which emerged from ERSA’s own ‘Job Start’ figures which showed that, as of end June 2013, 384,000 individuals on the Work Programme had started work.

The official data also confirms that young people are faring best on the scheme, with nearly 41,000 long term unemployed young people having achieved sustained employment by the end of June. Again this reinforces the findings of ERSA Job Start data, which indicated that 103,000 long term unemployed young people have now started a job on the programme. Performance for those on Employment and Support Allowance, however, continues to lag behind other groups, reflecting the level of need of these jobseekers. 

Welcoming the data, ERSA Chief Executive, Kirsty McHugh, said:

“It was always going to take time for performance on the Work Programme to build given the emphasis on sustained jobs and the economic backdrop of the last two years.  This latest government data reinforces our view that the Work Programme is now delivering at a faster rate for the long term unemployed. 

“ERSA welcomes the fact that the industry is on track to exceed its year 3 Minimum Performance Levels for jobseekers on JSA. This is a significant success for the programme. However performance with the ESA group remains a major concern. We believe far more needs to be done to join up health and skills budgets with the Work Programme to help those on ESA into work.  Many of this group have significant needs that cannot be met by the Work Programme alone.”

“The industry supports the underlying principles of market share shift as a mechanism for boosting performance for jobseekers and all providers are signed up to it as part of their contracting arrangements.”

The ERSA data was collected from all 18 prime contractors of the Work Programme and show the number of people entering work, known as ‘Job Starts’.  The official government data released today relates to ‘Job Outcomes’ – the number of jobseekers who have been in sustained employment, usually six months. ERSA data indicates that around 70 per cent of those who have achieved at least one initial Job Start will go on to achieve a sustainable Job Outcome, making ERSA’s data a lead indicator of future programme performance.


Press enquiries should be directed to Anna Robin 020 7960 6808/ 07912 69449 /

Notes to Editors

1. The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the sector body for those delivering or with an interest in welfare to work services.  ERSA’s membership spans the private, voluntary and public sectors and ranges from large multi-nationals through to small specialist charities. 

2. The Work Programme is the government’s largest back to work scheme and caters for the most disadvantaged jobseekers in the labour market. Further information about how the programme operates, including the financial model, is available in a Policy Briefing on ERSA’s website.

3. The Work Programme is already on track to exceed its Minimum Performance Levels for year 3, achieving a 57.6% outcome rate versus a target of44% for young people on JSA and a 46.3% outcome versus a target of 33% for people over the age of 25 on JSA. A briefing on Minimum Performance Levels can be found here.

4. ERSA’s Work Programme Performance Report is designed to provide statistical information on the performance of the Work Programme. It provides information on ‘Job Starts’; the number of participants starting a job on the programme. 

5. The Government’s official statistics on sustained Job Outcomes and Sustainments can be found here.

6. ERSA is able to set up interviews with jobseekers who have found work, Work Programme providers and employers who are recruiting form the scheme. Case studies are available on ERSA’s website. Interviews with ERSA’s Chief Executive Kirsty McHugh are available on request.