Department for Work and Pensions: Work Programme outcome statistics - Public Accounts Committee Contents

2  Improving transparency

11.  The Department published its performance data on the Work Programme in the form of a tabulation tool which it made available through its website. The tool allows an analysis of performance in a variety of different ways, including by provider, contract or claimant type. The Department told us its publication of data was totally transparent. However, the Department did not publish its own expectations of performance for the period to July 2012 or the contractually agreed performance targets. Nor did it publish its own explanation as to why actual performance differed from its expectations.[24] The information published by the Department was unclear, and Parliament, the public, and the media were left confused as to the relevance and meaning of the information that did enter the public domain. The Department must present data in such a way that brings clarity to the performance of the programme.

12.  The confusion caused by the Department publishing insufficient material to provide a full understanding of the Work Programme's performance was made worse by its decision to publish unverified data from the body representing welfare to work providers. The Department accepted that the information was 'not under our [the Department's] control', and it was therefore making use of information for which it did not have any responsibility.[25]

13.  The Department did not release its own information on performance for four months because, it told us, of the need for the data to be validated by National Statistics. The Department also told us that it would have preferred to have released the first set of performance statistics earlier than it did, but that the release date was a matter of judgement by national statisticians. It agreed with the Committee that data to the end of March 2013 should be published before the Parliamentary recess, a timetable that raises the prospect of another wait of four months to assess performance.[26]

24   Qq 54, 55 Back

25   Q 79 Back

26   Qq 78, 79 Back

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© Parliamentary copyright 2013
Prepared 22 February 2013