The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been branded “incredibly short-sighted” amid claims it is holding back innovative welfare reforms.
A local government chief has slammed the department’s reluctance to support a scheme helping employers find staff for ad-hoc work.
Hammersmith & Fulham council leader Stephen Greenhalgh called on the DWP to cut the red-tape that benefit claimants had to wade through to work on a casual basis.
The council signed up to the Slivers-of-Time Working scheme last week, allowing it to access employees who have signed up to offer a few hours at a time.
But Greenhalgh said that the pool of workers available to employers through the scheme was greatly reduced by the current benefits system. “The DWP is incredibly short-sighted,” he told Personnel Today. “It wants to tackle unemployment but it only has one view, which will not solve the problem.
“There are a ridiculous amount of forms to fill in every time you want to work for a couple of hours. The DWP should build its systems around the fact some people can only work a few hours a week.”
Wingham Rowan, project director of Slivers-of-Time, agreed that the DWP’s stance was holding back the scheme, which links employers with people who only have a few hours to spare.
A DWP spokeswoman said the government’s welfare-to-work policies were designed to support people into longer term, sustainable employment. “Slivers of Time has clear benefits to those who want to work limited and irregular hours – in particular, students who seem to be the main beneficiary of the programme,” she added.