Jobseekers who fail to turn up for interviews to help them find work cost taxpayers at least £16m a year, an official report has revealed.
About 1.8 million appointments with Jobcentre Plus advisers were missed last year, according to the report from the National Audit Office (NAO).
As well as missing appointments, the burden of paperwork and interruptions reduced the effectiveness of interviews.
Advisers spent only 52% of their time interviewing people.
However, the NAO described the report as “encouraging” as almost 11 million interviews were carried out by more than 9,000 Jobcentre Plus advisers helping people to find work in 2005-06.
The NAO said it showed that advisers raised jobseekers’ confidence and improved their application skills.
This proportion could be increased with “changes to paperwork, improved admin support and ensuring customers turn up to their appointments on time”, the report said.