Support to Incapacity Benefits Claimants

HC 404, First Report of Session 2010-11 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence

House of Commons - Committee of Public Accounts
TSO (The Stationery Office)

During 2008-09, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) paid 12.6 billion in incapacity benefits to 2.6 million people who were unable to work because of disability or ill health. The Pathways to Work programme was launched nationally between 2005 and 2008 to help reduce the number of incapacity benefit claimants through targeted support and an earlier medical assessment. It is delivered by contractors in 60% of districts, with Jobcentre Plus providing the service in the remainder.

The report, 'Support to Incapacity Benefits Claimants through Pathways to Work (HC 404)' highlights that by March 2010, the programme had cost an estimated 760 million. The numbers on incapacity benefits reduced by 125,000 between 2005 and 2009 but the Pathways contribution to this reduction has been much more limited than planned.

The Committee found that:

  • The programme was not well implemented.

  • Pathways' was introduced without effective piloting and rigorous evaluation of its likely impact.

  • Early medical assessments appear to have had some success in moving people off incapacity benefits, although the Department does not monitor whether all these people move into work or onto other benefits.

  • In other areas money has not been spent effectively.

  • Private providers have seriously underperformed against their contracts and their success rates are worse than Jobcentre Plus.

The Department should consider the evidence of the Committee's enquiries thoroughly before embarking on its new Work Programme. It should ensure good value for money by making good use of Jobcentre Plus resources and maintaining a sustainable balance between public, private and voluntary providers to allow proper competition and a good basis for comparing performance.

Extent 40 pages ISBN 9780215554611
Size A4 Price £11.00
Format Paperback Published 13 Sep 2010
Availability Colour copy: 3 - 5 days Availability help (opens in new window) Delivery Delivery options and charges
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