Officials say the £2bn work scheme for young people is ‘not being monitored properly’ and may not have a positive impact
- Ministers accused of taking a ‘lightweight approach’ to tracking jobs scheme
- The report found that the Department of Work and Pensions has a “limited guarantee” that it is working
- The project pays £1,500 to those responsible for everyone aged 16 to 24 on the universal credit program taken.
Ministers have been accused of taking a ‘light touch approach’ to track the performance of a £2 billion scheme to create jobs for young people.
A report from the Public Expenditure Watch said the Department of Work and Pensions had “limited confirmation” that the Kickstart program was having a positive impact.
The scheme, which was launched last year, pays employers £1,500 for every 16-24 year olds in the Universal Credit programme.
It is the most expensive employment support offered by the department.
But the National Audit Office found that the Doha Work Program does “relatively little monitoring” of whether the jobs created do not replace pre-existing roles and include the appropriate level of training.
Ministers have been accused of taking a ‘light touch approach’ to track the performance of a £2 billion scheme to create jobs for young people (Stock Image)
Looking at the scheme’s funds, Meg Hillier, chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, said, “The Doha Work Program has taken a worrisome light approach to setting targets or tracking performance.”
“At the start of the pandemic, the DWP acted quickly to create a Kickstart to help young people work when youth unemployment was expected to rise dramatically,” said Gareth Davis, head of the National Audit Office.
However, the DWP has limited confirmation that Kickstart is having the intended positive impact.
It does not know whether the jobs created would have been of high quality or if they would have existed without this scheme.
It can also do more to ensure that the scheme targets those who need it most.
The scheme, which was launched last year, pays employers £1,500 per young person aged 16-24 on a blanket credit taken and handed over by the Department of Work and Pensions (pictured, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Therese Coffey)
The office added in its report that the labor market reopened in ways that were not originally expected due to the following closures.
She added that there were concerns that the jobs might have been created by the scheme, which could have been developed anyway.
“As the program began to expand, the economy was opening up, which increased the risk of government subsidizing jobs that would have been created anyway,” the agency added.
A government spokesperson said: ‘We acted quickly and decisively to set up Kickstart at the start of the pandemic when it was feared that unemployment levels would more than double – as this report acknowledges.
“The program has already created more than 100,000 new, life-changing jobs for young Universal Credit job seekers who were at risk of long-term unemployment and will continue to provide opportunities for young people.”
A government spokesperson said: ‘We acted quickly and decisively to establish Kickstart at the start of the pandemic when it was feared that unemployment levels would more than double – as this report acknowledges.