The Regions, Welfare to Work

– Providers say the new Work Programme is on course to transform people's lives

Friday 10th June – For immediate release


Providers say new Work Programme is on course to transform peoples’ lives


The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), the trade association for the welfare to work industry, has today said that the Government’s new Work Programme has the potential to help transform the lives of millions of people who are out of work.

The Work Programme, which is being rolled out from this month, marks a radical shift in the provision of welfare to work services with old programmes being wound up and replaced by one single back to work programme. Providers will be paid by results once they have moved jobseekers into sustainable employment and there will be financial incentives to concentrate on those furthest from the labour market. It is anticipated that 2.5 million people will be referred to the Work Programme over the next 5 years.

Commenting on the launch, Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of ERSA said:

“A real advantage of the Work Programme is that providers are being given the flexibility to use their specialist knowledge to provide jobseekers with support which is based on their needs rather than on what benefit they are on. The expertise which providers possess will help individuals overcome the barriers which prevent them from securing sustainable work.

The Work Programme will be delivered in 18 geographical regions with 2 or 3 prime contractors competing in each. These prime contractors will then manage a network of sub-contractors in order to deliver individually tailored support to jobseekers. Commenting on the system of delivery, Kirsty McHugh said:

“Diverse supply chains which include partnerships between businesses, charities and local authorities are going to be crucial to the successful delivery of the Work Programme. Providers are also well placed to understand the needs of employers who also need help and support.”

Kirsty McHugh continued:

“Given the scale of the Work Programme, there will no doubt be challenges that need to be overcome. However, providers are ready and confident in delivering a service which can transform peoples’ lives as well as reduce cost to the taxpayer.”

For press enquiries please contact Philip Curry: / 020 7960 6317.

Notes to editors


  • ERSA is the authoritative voice of the welfare to work sector. We represent 85% of the prime organisations that have been awarded prime contracts under the Work Programme and many of the subcontractors. We also represent 90% of providers of Work Choice, the specialist disability programme.
  • ERSA’s membership is comprised of small specialist charities through to large organisations. 50% of our members are from the not-for-profit sector.
  • ERSA members have signed up to a shared promise on customer care to ensure a high quality of service is delivered to jobseekers.
  • ESRA has a number of case studies which are available to journalists on request.


  1. people dont need help to look for jobs .they need the jobs available to look for i just started this programme and its identical to all the others that failed to achive any results in that they dont cater for individuals due to cost and they try to persuade you that your lack of , 1 cv skills 2 interveiw skills 3 confidence are the reasons you cant find work

  2. I have spent several months on the Flexible New Deal Programme and it has been an absolute waste of my time. In my area there is a multitude of providers, the principal contractor being Serco. They have unqualified patronising staff and totally inadequate facilities. And yet there are so many of them. All this has been about is providing an arena to set up these pathetic firms, creating jobs in the “provision” sector not the unemployed to whom they purport to serve. The Work Programme will be no different as already mention is made of multi-tier contracting out to providers. It will be the same rubbish service with the same rubbish outcome

  3. Having worked on the new deal programme for the last 28 months, I am pretty certain that the new work programme is not the answer and is doomed to failure.
    With the new sanctions going to be imposed on a more regular basis, jsa claimants who cannot claim jsa because of sanctions will resort to crime to get money, desperate people will resort to desperate measures.

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