An evaluation of the DWP Work Programme commissioning model.
This is the second in a series of research reports aiming to evaluate the Work Programme in terms of:
- the way it’s commissioned
- how it’s delivered
- how claimants experience support
- whether it leads to additional employment outcomes
This research is part of a comprehensive evaluation of the Work Programme, commissioned in 2011 to provide an independent assessment of delivery and performance.
What this report covers
This report covers:
- DWP’s commissioning model
- how this has impacted on the provider market
- how this has influenced the support delivered to people seeking employment
The report covers the first phase of commissioning-focused research, examining the initial procurement process and the effects of the financial models and incentives used by DWP and prime providers to maximise performance. Qualitative fieldwork was conducted in 6 of the 18 Work Programme contract package areas, in late 2011 and summer 2012. The research included a national online survey of Work Programme sub-contractors and in-depth interviews with DWP and Jobcentre Plus staff, and organisations inside and outside of the supply chain.
DWP has used this research to increase understanding of how the current commissioning approach is working in practice.
DWP was previously aware of some of the issues highlighted, for example, steps have been taken to:
- strengthen and clarify the process for agreeing changes to providers’ Minimum Service Delivery Standards
- ensure consistent understanding of the principles of minimum prescription contracting and what this means for day-to-day contract/performance management
Other issues, specifically those relating to the funding model, will require longer term research to unpack because the full effects of the commissioning model have yet to come into force.
From 2013, the attachment fees will begin reducing to zero and the balance of referrals in each contract package area can potentially be shifted to the better performing providers. As such, the providers will only be able to generate sufficient income if they support claimants into employment and keep them there, and the best providers will be rewarded with additional market share. The evaluation will monitor how these critical design features affect the providers’ delivery strategies in 2013 and 2014 towards providing a more rounded evaluation of the Work Programme commissioning model.
The first report in this series
The first report in this series is Work Programme evaluation: Findings from the first phase of qualitative research on programme delivery (RR821)
Related DWP research
- The influence of outcome-based contracting on Provider-led Pathways to Work (RR 638)
- The Commissioning Strategy: provider survey on early implementation (RR704)
- Welfare to work commissioning: wave 2 provider survey (RR757)
- Job Services Australia (RR752)
Work Programme statistics
Official Work Programme statistics, including data on referrals, attachments and job outcomes, are available in the Work Programme statistics series.