8 November 2015

Derbyshire Mandatory Youth Activity Programme: What the DWP didn't learn

This local scheme involved 8 weeks of  24 (some sources imply 30) hours/week unpaid work by claimants  plus some supported jobsearch. It was mandatory and very like some of the other DWP "Workfare" schemes.

On the face of it however, there was a crucial difference. According to the guidance

4. DMYAP is aimed to test whether a period of activity at the 26 week claim
point, will have a positive impact on sustainable job outcomes

Now, if we for a moment forget that this was a nasty untested mandatory scheme, there's actually something very exciting here - an intention to see if the scheme works!

So I asked for the results. After a tussle, the DWP sent me their evaluation reports. The main one is here and disappointingly reports "It has not been possible at this time to look at the employment impacts of DMYAP.". That's unfortunate especially since finding out about "sustainable job outcomes" was the avowed purpose. I look forward to a further report that covers this vital point!

The report is not without interest as a look at what they investigated hints at what the real priorities of the DWP were:
  • It showed a modest drop in claims. This is unsurprising - you do something unpleasant to claimants  and they go away.
  • There is a lot of data on how much money the scheme saved.
  • It claims to have improved the performance of  staff by giving them more time to work with those that were not randomly selected to go on DMYAP.
I'll keep prompting the DWP on the job outcomes issue.

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