I was recently reffered onto the Work Programme by the Job Centre on very sketchy grounds. Yesterday I had my initial introductory group meeting with A4E called "About You" and here is my account of how it went and everything leading up to it.
It all started a couple of weeks ago when I managed to finally see my new adviser at the Job Centre after being blown off numerous times before at extremely late notice (half an hour before my appointment for example).
Last month the government's spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee, published its report on the Pathways to Work Scheme. The programme, brought in at a cost of over £760 million four years ago, was part of the then government's attempt to target 'welfare cheats' and shift claimants off incapacity benfit and into work.
The report is damning. The programme, which was implemented by private contractors led by A4e and Reed, "universally failed by considerable margins to meet their contractual targets for helping claimants." The report describes how "private providers’ performance was universally poor in helping claimants to go on the programme.