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High attainment targets could derail Work Programme, warns NCFE

The government’s new Work Plan may be derailed by high attainment targets, according to national awarding organisation NCFE.

The new scheme that will introduce a ‘payment by results’ method – according to which, training providers will be paid from the benefits saved when participants find work, thereby saving taxpayers’ money – has raised concerns within the industry over its financial viability.

By setting targets too high, additional pressure will be placed upon the shoulders of many providers who believe that they will not be able to make Work Programme courses pay, no matter how hard they try, warns NCFE.

Providers also are concerned that high attainment targets may lead the government to limit the number of them willing or able to take part and, thus stifle the potential of the programme before it gets off the ground.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling has recently responded to such concerns by stressing that there will be no bailout or renegotiation, but David Grailey, chief executive of NCFE, believes that “the government needs to look again at the key targets of the Work Programme, focusing on what can realistically be achieved, given the target participants and their likely levels of attainment and commitment”.

Grailey explained: “This needs to be a two-way process, taking into account the views of experts and awarding bodies, as well as the providers themselves. Without a certain amount of flexibility on both sides, we could be facing major problems in 12 months time”.

Apostolos Kostoulas

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