The Government has today ( 12th June 2012) announced a £5million expansion of the Mandatory Work Activity scheme, requiring more jobseekers to do a month's full time activity to help them back into work. The expansion will allow for as many as 60-70,000 referrals to the scheme each year.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling has also warned that the system of sanctions is being tightened to make sure people can't just sign off Jobseekers Allowance and sign on again a few weeks later in order to avoid their placement.
The announcement comes after official figures and analysis of the early impact of the scheme revealed:
· Nearly half - 46% - of the first jobseekers referred to do a month's full time activity under the Mandatory Work Activity scheme either signed off Jobseekers' Allowance or failed to turn up rather than starting the placement. Those failing to turn up face losing their JSA.
· Of those early referrals 29% signed off JSA over the 21 weeks following the referral instead of starting.
· Between May 2011 and February 2012, 16,790 people started a Mandatory Work Activity placement. The extra funding will allow for 9,000 extra places a year.