The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.
Letter from Glen Watson, dated October 2012
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking whether the Office for National Statistics defines people in unpaid workfare-style programmes as being employed in its Labour Market Statistics. (124129)
The ONS collects information on people participating in government-supported employment and training programmes via the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The information includes the name of the programme and the type of activity being undertaken. Those participants whose activity comprises any form of work, work experience or work-related training are classified as in employment. This is regardless of whether the individual is paid or not.
This classification is in line with recommendations set down by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which the ONS uses in the LFS to classify individuals into different labour market statuses. Those in employment on government-supported employment and training programmes comprise one of the elements—alongside employees, the self-employed and unpaid family workers—that make up the total number in employment.