New figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) indicate the Work Programme is failing to help people with disabilities, including mental health problems, back into work. Work Programme providers found work for just 5.3 per cent of people claiming Employment Support Allowance, instead of the expected 16.5 per cent.
Of over 150,000 people with a disability or an illness placed on the Work Programme, fewer than 5,000 have been helped into work, which is just over 3 per cent.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive at Mind, commented:
"The Work Programme continues to show disappointing results for people with mental health problems. There are hundreds of thousands of people who are not able to work at this time because of the barriers they face due to their mental health problems. They need time and appropriate support to help them get closer to the workplace but this does not seem to be happening.
At present, there is too little specialist support; too much focus on mandating people to undertake activities rather than addressing the real barriers they face; and the whole system is undermined by the flawed Work Capability Assessment, which is meant to help decide how much support people get. That’s why we urgently need an overhaul of the system."