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Genesis Cymru Wales 2: £36m work scheme faces closure

The BBC report that a back-to-work scheme supported by £36m of public money faces being wound up a year early after a review found it was failing to hit some targets.

They say that the Welsh government wants to revoke £23m of European funding from Genesis Cymru Wales 2, which the review said was “under-performing”. It was supposed to find work for people struggling to get jobs, including single parents. They add that officials are looking at ways to close the scheme ahead of schedule in June:

Genesis Cymru Wales 2 was set up in 2008 to help 20,000 people into work, 15,000 of them in the deprived parts of west Wales and the valleys.

It is run by local councils and aimed at people who faced obstacles getting jobs.

Health visitors and social workers can refer people to the service, and they then meet advisers to discuss the support they need.

The scheme offers mentoring, help with childcare and assistance for people to attend training courses and interviews.

It began in Rhondda Cynon Taf, was extended to all 22 counties in 2008 and was due to continue until June 2014.

However, Education Minister Leighton Andrews and his deputy, Jeff Cuthbert, have decided to “de-commit” £23m for the programme from the Wales European Funding Office (Wefo). They have also approved preparations for its early completion by June.

Peter Black, Welsh Liberal Democrats’ finance spokesman, said: “There are some very serious questions to ask what has gone wrong, why it has gone wrong but, more importantly, what the impact is going to be on those people who rely on this fund to get the skills and support they need to get back into work.

“And the second question, of course, is what is going to replace the fund? You can’t just withdraw the fund without putting something in its place.”

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