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We provide expert advice, practical support and campaign for single parents

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Gingerbread and the Work Programme

Gingerbread helps single parents return to the workplace through training courses which build on their existing skills and motivations and allow them to work towards their personal employment goals at their own pace. We support single parents’ aspirations, whether they are to return to work, develop their skills or focus on family life.

Gingerbread has consistently lobbied against the sanctions which are part of the Work Programme. It is our view that they are neither necessary, nor effective, in helping single parents return to work. We have always made this clear to both government and Work Programme providers.

Gingerbread works with Work Programme prime contractors as a tier two specialist subcontractor.  Our main activities are providing access to information services for Work Programme provider staff and for single parents and training the staff of Work Programme contractors on the issues affecting single parents who are returning to work, thereby aiming to improve how they work with single parents.  There is no risk of sanctions attached to these services.

Our other main activity as a Work Programme subcontractor is providing access to our established employability courses, with work experience placements. Gingerbread interviews every single parent who is referred to us and chooses all the participants independent of referral agencies. We make clear to them their Work Programme obligations and who they should contact if they have any concerns. We never put anyone forward for the course who doesn’t want to go or who we feel could not meet the obligations expected of them. As part of our monitoring process we regularly follow up with and support any single parents who might be at risk of sanctions.

Single parents report a high level of satisfaction with the support they receive from Gingerbread while undertaking employability training and we have a good track record in getting single parents back to work. 

Gingerbread is committed to supporting single parents into work, and has extensive experience over many years of doing so successfully. We believe that our limited involvement in the Work Programme enables us to further this aim; at the same time, we will continue to monitor the overall impact of welfare-to-work changes, and to lobby the government for reform on issues such as sanctions.