Responding to the publication of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report on the Work Programme, Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said: “The Work Programme has attracted a lot of harsh criticism, and this report is no exception. However, it is sad and telling that the report makes no mention of employers, one of the most important stakeholders involved in the scheme. Those employers who are engaging with the Work Programme, and similar initiatives of their own to assist the long-term unemployed, do so because they recognise that they have a responsibility for ensuring the labour market is accessible to people who may not have been engaged in it for some time.
“Our research suggests that there is more that can be done by Government and providers of the Work Programme to increase awareness amongst employers of its existence and the benefits it can bring. Only half (51%) of employers reported that they were aware of the scheme in a survey conducted in the summer of 2012. We’re committed to working with Government to help increase awareness of the Work Programme, through communications with our members. But increasing take-up is a challenge against a backdrop of constant negative coverage of what could be a valuable and important programme – for business, society and the economy.”