ERSA, the sector body for the welfare to work industry, has today welcomed the release of data showing long term unemployed jobseekers are increasingly going into sustained employment on the Work Programme. 

The government figures, released today, relate to the number of jobseekers who have gained ‘sustained’ employment – usually of six months plus duration.  Of those, who have been on the programme long enough to gain a ‘Job Outcome’, 207,950 had moved into long term work by the end of September 2013.

As the time lag factor in the government’s figures means that official data only captures information on jobseekers who have started work by end March 2013, ERSA released information earlier this week on the numbers who have started work overall on the programme.  This shows that, to date, 444,000 long term unemployed jobseekers have started a job on the scheme. 

Welcoming the official government statistics, ERSA chief executive, Kirsty McHugh, said:

‘The Work Programme is increasingly helping the long term unemployed into sustained work, thus transforming their lives and those of their families. Performance levels for those on Employment and Support Allowance however remain depressed by the inclusion on the scheme last November of jobseekers found by their Work Capability Assessment to be around 12 months away from work. These jobseekers have far higher support needs and in future we need to see how these are faring compared to other jobseekers on ESA.’  

ERSA will be releasing data in early 2014 showing the difference in Job Start performance for those with different levels of health need within the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) group.  Understanding provider performance for those on ESA has been made more difficult by the addition into this group, last year, of those who are judged by their Work Capability Assessment to be around 12 months away from the labour market.  Previously, ESA clients on the Work Programme were those that were assessed as being ready for work in 3 to 6 months and performance targets relate to this group. 


Press enquiries should be directed to Anna Robin 020 7960 6808/ 07912 569 449 /

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.  It has 140 members including all prime contractors of the Work Programme.
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 this Policy Briefing on ERSA’s website.

3. 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.  The report can be found here.
4. The Government’s official statistics on sustained Job Outcomes, jobseekers who have been in work for (in most cases) six months are available here.
5. 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.