Workfare stats

Newer contentnow on:
www.refuted.org.uk  – Twitter: @refutedFacebook: facebook.com/refuted.org.uk

(The post below was developed after a debate on twitter initiated by @RevPaulCA)

“The Government boast that they are creating jobs but fail to tell us how many of those jobs are unpaid, because unbelievably they are including unpaid workfare placements”
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm130108/debtext/130108-0004.htm#13010855002163
Source: Hansard 8th January 2013

ONS has introduced a revised set of LFS programme questions and a new method for allocating those who report participation on a programme into employment, unemployment or economic inactivity. Recent trends in the number of people the LFS records as in employment on Government-supported programmes are likely to have been affected by these changes and should be treated with caution.”
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm121219/text/121219w0001.htm#12121969000603
19 December 2012

Below are responses from the ONS and DWP on the question of whether people are classed as unemployed when they are on Workfare or one of the many DWP Work Programmes.
1) ONS
2) DWP
3) Labour Force Survey Questions SCHM12 and TYPSCH12
(Questions of whether people on Government training, workfare or employment support schemes are classed as employed or unemployed)
4) Further comments from DWP (30 Aug 2012)
5) Lies, jobless statistics, informed consent and workfare (24 Oct 2012)
6) ONS reaffirms people on “unpaid workfare” not classed unemployed, but employed? (24 Oct 2012)
7) Government accused of massaging jobless figures (24 Oct 2012)
8) Unpaid Workfare and Labour Force Surveys (25 Oct 2012)

1) ONS

From: Labour Market <Labour.Market@ons.gsi.gov.uk> To: email@consent.me.uk
Subject: Re: Labour Market Statistics – Ref: CCC255055 Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2012 17:26:11 +0100

In accordance with international guidelines, all those in government
supported training and employment programmes are defined as being in
employment. Such people cannot therefore be classified as unemployed as no
one can be both employed and unemployed at the same point in time.
The claimant count measures all people who claim Jobseeker’s Allowance.
The only relevant factor in determining whether someone is in the claimant
count or not is whether or not they are claiming JSA. It is not correct to
say that all people on the claimant count are unemployed.

The unemployment estimates measure all people who meet the internationally
agreed definition of unemployment. Further information on this is
available at:
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/july-2012/statistical-bulletin.html#tab-Comparison-between-unemployment-and-the-claimant-count

I hope this helps.

[redacted]
Labour Market Statistics Helpline
labour.market@ons.gov.uk

^top of page^

2) DWP

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 20th July 2012. You asked for:

Everyone on government Welfare to Work Schemes: (Collectively known as Work Programmes)

[A] Community Action Programme http://www.dwp.gov.uk/supplying-dwp/what-we-buy/welfare-to-work-services/provider-guidance/community-action-programme.shtml

[B] Youth Contract: sector based work academy/work experience http://www.dwp.gov.uk/youth-contract/key-initiatives/

[C] Work Programme http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/welfare-reform/the-work-programme/

[D] Mandatory Work Activity http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2012/jun-2012/dwp061-12.shtml

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/welfare-reform/get-britain-working/

continues to claim Jobseekers Allowance and attend Jobcentre Plus reviews to provide evidence of Jobsearch activity. The above Programmes also include periods on unpaid Work Placements/Experience. [A], [B], [C] or [D]

Can you confirm that everyone undertaking the above Work Programmes schemes are classed as unemployed for the purposes of ONS Labour Market statistics? And that everyone claiming JSA is classed as unemployed for ONS stats?

The Daily Telegraph seems to be suggesting that those on the above Work Programmes or doing unpaid work placements/experience under [A], [B], [C] or [D] as NOT classed as unemployed, though they do not name the government scheme(s) they make these claims based upon.

——

Employment is rising but it’s not down to job creation

The number of people in employment has risen by 181,000, but of those, just half are in jobs working for employers. The rest are in taxpayer-backed training schemes, self-employment or unpaid jobs – skewing the figures somewhat.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/9407951/Employment-is-rising-but-its-not-down-to-job-creation.html

—————————–

There is a significant Public interest to clarify the issues raised above.”

The official statistics for employment and unemployment are produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) based upon their Labour Force Survey (LFS). The LFS is a sample survey covering around 45,000 households at any one time. The sample is constructed to be representative and responses from the survey are scaled up to produce national estimates.

The definitions used in the LFS are based on international guidelines set by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), an agency of the United Nations. According to these guidelines, some people on government-supported employment and training programmes are considered to be in employment.

The Labour Force Survey includes a question that asks which, if any, government-supported programme they are on. This makes specific reference to those programmes most likely to be recognised by respondents, including the Work Programme, Work Experience and Work Trials. See question SCHM12 on page 30 here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/method-quality/specific/labour-market/labour-market-statistics/volume-2—2012.pdf.

This question provides useful information on the distribution of people on programmes, but does not of itself determine whether people are counted as employed, unemployed or economically inactive. A separate question (TYPSCH12 also on p30 of the link above) on the type of activity individuals are undertaking is used to help determine labour market status.

Under the ILO guidelines, an individual receiving assisted jobsearch (for example while participating in the Work Programme) should be counted as unemployed and someone on a full or part-time education course would normally be economically inactive. However, those undertaking training within an enterprise are classified as employed as they are engaged in activity associated with the production of goods and services. The ONS is independent of government and uses the ILO guidelines in part to maximise international comparability of labour market statistics.

The JSA statistics, by contrast, are derived from the administrative systems that pay unemployment-related benefits. They reflect the eligibility rules for those benefits, which have varied over time. Under the previous New Deal programme, which ran until last year, when a JSA claimant moved onto a training scheme they were placed on training allowance and removed from the JSA count. If, at the end of the training, they returned to JSA they were counted as a new claimant. This meant that these statistics understated long-term unemployment.

The current government has changed those rules so individuals participating on the new Work Programme remain on JSA until they find a regular job. The result is that the number of people on JSA with longer durations has been rising, but the government’s view is that this is a more transparent approach and provides a more accurate picture of the true level of long-term claimant unemployment.

On the latest government-supported employment and training statistics, you should be aware that ONS found an error in last month’s statistical release. See Note (27 July 2012) at the bottom of this page: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/july-2012/index.html. The figures were revised earlier this month. The quarterly increase in the number of people on government programmes – which as you note was picked up by the Daily Telegraph – has been revised down.

On your question of whether everyone claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is classed as unemployed by the ONS statistics, there is not – and never has been – a complete overlap between JSA and ILO unemployment. As mentioned, they come from different sources – administrative data for JSA, the Labour Force Survey (LFS) for ILO – and measure attachment to the labour market in different ways. For example, it is possible for someone to do a small amount of paid work and retain some eligibility for JSA and an individual in this position would be treated as employed by the LFS.

If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely,

Labour Market Analysis & Strategy

^top of page^

3) Labour Force Survey Questions SCHM12 and TYPSCH12

SCHM12     UK

(Last week, that is) In the seven days ending Sunday the [date] were you on any of
the following schemes/programmes…

1  Work Club or Enterprise Club
2  New Enterprise Allowance
3  Work Experience
4  Work Trial
5  Work Programme
6  Training for Success [Northern Ireland only option]
7  Steps to Work [Northern Ireland only option]
8  Training for Work [Scotland only option]
9  Get ready for work [Scotland only option]
50  Any other training scheme
66  or none of these?
97  Just 16 and non-response this time
Applies if aged between 16 and 64

TYPSCH12     UK

In the week ending Sunday the [date], on that government scheme/programme
were you mainly…

1  working for an employer,
2  temporarily away from an employer,
3  working for a voluntary organisation/charity,
4  undertaking some other form of voluntary or community work,
5  working for an environmental taskforce,
6  in full-time or part-time study,
7  temporarily away from full-time or part-time study,
8  receiving help setting up as self-employed,
9  on a project providing work experience or practical training,
10  undertaking some other form of employment training,
11  or some other situation not listed?
97  Don’t know



Source: Page 30 Labour Force Survey Questionnaire July 2012
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/method-quality/specific/labour-market/labour-market-statistics/volume-2—2012.pdf

^top of page^

4) Further comments from DWP (30 Aug 2012)

—– Original message —–
From: [redacted]@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK>
To: [redacted]
Subject: RE: FoI 2809
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2012 18:11:32 +0100

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I’ve just been
clarifying the exact routing of the LFS questions with ONS. For
information, Volume 4 of the LFS User Guide sets out the routing process
(http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/method-quality/specific/labour-m
arket/labour-market-statistics/index.html).

As you appreciate, in most cases, the scheme itself isn’t the decisive
factor in determining the economic status of the respondent. It is the
type of activity carried out (typsch12) that dictates that.

Those identified as being on a government scheme such as the Work
programme during the reference week are asked whether they were:

1 working for an employer
2 temporarily away from an employer
3 working for a voluntary organisation/charity,
4 undertaking some other form of voluntary or community work,
5 working for an environmental taskforce,
6 in full-time or part-time study,
7 temporarily away from full-time or part-time study,
8 receiving help setting up as self-employed,
9 on a project providing work experience or practical training,
10 undertaking some other form of employment training,
11 or some other situation not listed?
97 Don’t know

Those replying that they were in categories 1,2 or 9 are counted as
being in employment as an employee, unless they are funded (identified
by question fund12) by the Skills Funding Agency or the Young People’s
Learning Agency in England, in Wales are funded by the Department for
Education, or in Scotland funded by Skills Development Scotland. In
which case they are in employment but included under ‘government
supported training & employment programme’.

A respondent in either 3,4,5 or 10 is counted as in employment on a
‘government supported training & employment programme’.

Those responding as ’8 receiving help setting up as self-employed’ are
counted as in employment as ‘self-employed’ unless they are receiving
help after setting up a business and/or government  funded (fund12), in
which case they are in employment as a ‘government supported training &
employment programme’.

If the respondent is in (or temporarily away from) full-time or
part-time study (6 or 7) then they are asked whether they did any
additional paid work. Likewise for those who respond as on ’11 some
other situation not listed’ or reply as a ‘don’t know’. The latter two
are also asked if they are funded and are routed accordingly. If either
those in 6,7,11 or ‘don’t know’ did any other paid work they are asked
questions based upon that work. If not, they are routed through the
unemployment questions and then through the inactivity reason questions
if they fail to met the ILO unemployment criteria.

So, coming back to your question, for someone to be classed as
unemployed, they would need to answer 6,7,11, or 97 and then meet the
ILO criteria (eg regarding availability & jobsearch) when they answered
the unemployment-related questions.

I hope that helps

Regards

[redacted]

In response to:

—–Original Message—–
From: [redacted]
Sent: 25 August 2012 12:55
To: [redacted] STRATEGY LABOUR MARKET
Subject: Re: FoI 2809

Dear [redacted],

Thanks for the helpful response, in the reply it states that an
individual on the Work Programme “receiving assisted jobsearch (for
example while participating in the Work Programme) should be counted as
unemployed”. I have looked at LFS questions SCHM12 and TYPSCH12, I can
see that a survey respondent could come under answer 5, Work Programme.
However, under TYPSCH12 can you advise which of 1 to 11 answers
including answer 97 would class the respondent as being unemployed?

TYPSCH12

1  working for an employer,
2  temporarily away from an employer,
3  working for a voluntary organisation/charity,
4  undertaking some other form of voluntary or community work, 5
working for an environmental taskforce, 6  in full-time or part-time
study, 7  temporarily away from full-time or part-time study, 8
receiving help setting up as self-employed, 9  on a project providing
work experience or practical training, 10  undertaking some other form
of employment training, 11  or some other situation not listed? 97
Don’t know

Can you also advise which answer(s) on TYPSCH12 would identity someone
on the Work Programme (5) as only “receiving assisted jobsearch” and
hence being classed as unemployed?

Thanks
[redacted]

^top of page^

5) Lies, jobless statistics, informed consent and workfare (24 Oct 2012)

“The government claims unemployment is falling, despite minimal economic growth. In fact, the government’s fiddling the unemployment figures, as usual, but by a new method: counting people on “workfare” as employed – as confirmed by Department of Work and Pensions and Office for National Statistics replies to freedom of information requests published on the Informed Consent blog.” (http://www.consent.me.uk/workfareunemployed/)
More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/oct/23/lies-and-jobless-statistics

6) ONS reaffirms people on “unpaid workfare” not classed unemployed, but employed? (24 Oct 2012)

http://www.consent.me.uk/workfarestyle/

7) Government accused of massaging jobless figures (24 Oct 2012)

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/125334

8) Unpaid Workfare and Labour Force Surveys (25 Oct 2012)

http://www.consent.me.uk/unpaidworkfare

^top of page^

Updated: 25 Oct 2012

Advertisements