John Harris

Journalist & Author

Do you have firsthand experience of the Work Programme? | John Harris

We want to see how the government’s scheme hopes to get people off benefits – and what those of you on it really think

For the next instalment of Comment is free’s Anywhere but Westminster series, we’re following a suggestion posted by one RichJames on a thread about the economy we put up towards the end of last year. He wrote:

“Personally, I would value an in depth look at the work programme – people’s experiences of it for better/worse. We certainly need work programmes – but how successful is the present one?”

It’s taken a while, but with the help of the requisite agencies, we’re going behind the scenes at the Work Programme in the Cheshire town of Warrington. With the aid of such independent providers as A4e and G4S, the government has said it wants get people off benefits and into paid employment. By way of doing so, partly via so-called “mandatory work activity“, it has expanded an array of work experience schemes that began under the last government.

Now, we want to shine light on how the coalition’s avowed aim of getting so many people into paid employment fits with such tough times, and what people on the receiving end think of how it’s going.

Before we go, we need the input of Comment is free users, particularly when it comes to direct experience of what the Work Programme does. Are you participating in it? Has the Work Programme sped your entry into work? Particularly in parts of the country that are really feeling the pinch, how do you think the government’s plans fit with the job market? Oh, and anyone from Warrington is particularly welcome to contribute.

As well as the thread below, you can also email us at © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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