Politics 23 July 2013 The government's work programme doesn't look well administered An underspend isn't always good news. Print HTML Tony Wilson, policy director at the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion, reports that the Work Programme, the controversial government scheme which pays outsourcing firms to get long-term unemployed people back in work, has come in £225m under budget. The Youth Contract, a related programme which focuses on young unemployed people, came in £300m under budget. So I estimate Youth Contract underspend £75m/ yr. Work Prog underspent last yr by £225m. £300m unspent on long-term unemp. Reinvest it! — Tony Wilson (@tonywilsonCESI) July 23, 2013 Govt should get no credit for pocketing £300m savings when progs to tackle long-term unemployment fail. It ends up costing us all much more. — Tony Wilson (@tonywilsonCESI) July 23, 2013 That sounds good – and likely will be spun as good by the government, when the time comes to release the figures – but it's actually yet more evidence of the mismanagement of the entire scheme. The Guardian reports on the public accounts committee's analysis of the programmes: The report said that providers complained they "did not have the funding to provide the level of support they wanted". It added: "Particular issues reported as resulting from a lack of funding included an inability to pay for interpreters and for participant transport in rural areas. Some subcontractors felt this also had an impact on their ability to meet the needs of particular groups of participants." Another provider said that due to the high numbers of unemployed people needing help too often "support was provided online or in group sessions, with one-to-one support used only where necessary". When a programme is being condemned for a lack of funding at the same time as not even spending the budget it's been given, it's hard to imagine it's being particularly well administered. Of course, given that against the best counterfactuals, it looks like the work programme is less effective than doing nothing at all, that shouldn't be a huge surprise. › Why Labour and the Lib Dems should be lining up to praise Lynton Crosby Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. Photograph: Getty Images. Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter. Subscribe More Related articles Inside Big Ben: why the world’s most famous clock will soon lose its bong Jeremy Corbyn appoints Shami Chakrabarti to lead inquiry into Labour and antisemitism Is our obsession with class propping up the powerful?