"Support to Incapacity Benefits Claimants Through Pathways to Work ("HC 21")" reports on the Pathways to Work programme's aims to reduce the number of people claiming incapacity benefits and help them into work. The reports suggests that it has had a limited impact and has turned out to provide poor value for money. Key findings: the volume of claimants has remained in excess of 2.5 million for over a decade; the contribution of the programme to a recent reduction of 125,000 in the number of people claiming incapacity benefits is not clear; the reduction is likely to be due to the earlier medical assessment to determine benefit entitlement; and other elements of Pathways employment support - at an estimated cost of GBP 94 million in 2008-09 - appear to have had no impact on claimants with new claimants just as likely to move into employment without Pathways support as they are with it. Pathways is led by Jobcentre Plus in some areas but is contracted out to third sector and private organisations in over 60 per cent of the country. Conclusion: There is no evidence that the programme is performing better or costing significantly less in contracted out areas than in those run by Jobcentre Plus. Contractors have universally underperformed against targets set by the Department and with a third of contracts making a financial loss, the programme's contracted out delivery does not appear to be sustainable. Looking forward, the Employment and Support Allowance looks likely to be a key instrument in reducing the number of incapacity benefit claimants.
|Place of Publication||London|
|Publisher||National Audit Office|
|Number of pages||34|
|Publication status||Published - May 2010|