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The Work Programme

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The Work Programme provides tailored support for claimants who need more help to undertake active and effective jobseeking. Participants receive support to overcome barriers that prevent them from finding and staying in work. It is delivered by DWP contracted service providers who have been given complete autonomy to decide how best to support participants while meeting their minimum service delivery standards.

The Work Programme is part funded by the European Social Fund.


The Government is committed to fighting poverty; supporting the most vulnerable and helping people break the cycle of benefit dependency. As a result we have made significant reforms to the welfare-to-work programmes currently available to Jobcentre Plus customers.

The Work Programme represents a step change for Welfare to Work in this country, creating a structure that treats people as individuals and allows providers greater freedom to tailor the right support to the individual needs of each claimant.

The Work Programme also ensures value for money for the taxpayer by basing payments largely on results, and paying service providers from the benefits saved from getting people into work. It is very much a partnership between Government and providers from across the public, private and third sectors.

Latest news

Employment adviser toolkit launched – 30 November 2012

In summer 2011 the Minister for Welfare Reform invited representatives from each Work Programme, specialist employment providers and mental health services to work together. Their aim was to help more people with mental health problems back to sustained work and, through work, to achieve better well-being.

Over the last year an industry-led group of Prime and specialist providers has met regularly to promote practical actions to join up employment and mental health support. In November 2011 they made a public pledge to work together to improve work and well-being outcomes for unemployed people.

The expert group has put together an employment adviser toolkit to help employment advisers spot when mental well-being support can help a jobseeker achieve their employment goal.

The toolkit was launched at the New Savoy Partnership Conference.

Work Programme is getting people working – 27 November 2012

The Government has published a summary report on the first year of the Work Programme. It is supporting more people than any previous programme by helping people off benefit and into employment. More than half of people who joined the Work Programme in the first few months have spent some time off benefit, and so far, more than 200,000 jobs have been started by Work Programme participants.

We are continuously monitoring providers' performance and some are performing much better than others. DWP will take action with those providers who are not delivering the Work Programme to the standards we expect.

Government launches employment support for prisoners - 6 March 2012

The Government has launched a major overhaul of the employment support prisoners receive when they leave jail. Everyone leaving prison and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance benefits will be immediately referred on Day One to the Government’s Work Programme, where they will receive specialist support to get them into employment as quickly as possible.

Real life stories

We have published a series of real life stories to show how people have benefited from the Work Programme.

Work Programme Partnership Forum

The Work Programme Partnership Forum acts as an interface between DWP and providers at senior management level, to allow experiences of delivery of the programme to be shared and for emerging policy which may impact on delivery to be discussed. It provides an opportunity to identify and address a wide range of strategic issues and consideration of potential interdependencies between the Work Programme and other aspects of Welfare Reform.

Useful Information

The following documents will be useful if you or your organisation are interested in getting involved in helping to deliver the Work Programme or you are an employer and want to find your local provider contact details.