Skip to main content

The Restart Scheme for long-term unemployed people


Restart is one of a range of measures introduced by the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) to support people to get and keep a job in the wake of the impact of COVID-19 on the UK’s labour market.

Restart went live in July 2021 and operates across England and Wales. It focuses on helping benefit claimants who are long-term unemployed by providing up to 12 months of “intensive and tailored support to over 1 million unemployed people”.  

Under the scheme, people who receive benefits and are long-term unemployed may be referred to employment support providers contracted to provide support in that area. The amount of money the contractors receive depends largely on their success in getting people into sustained work. So long as some contractual service standards are met, providers are able to choose how best to support the participants. The scheme will be open for three years and has budgeted funding of £2.9 billion, making it the largest of DWP’s employment programmes.

The Committee will question senior officials at the DWP on value for money in the Restart Scheme, including:

  • the extent to which Restart has been set up to meet the needs of long-term claimants; 
  • the rationale behind the commercial approach taken for Restart, and the relationship between DWP and the employment support providers; and  
  • performance of the scheme so far, including the evidence to date of the scheme’s initial impacts and the expected cost benefit analysis

If you have evidence on any of these issues including the findings of the NAO report underlying this inquiry and call for evidence, please submit here by Sunday 3 December 18:00.