PRIVATE companies and charities should be invited to bid to take over some of the work of JobCentres, a new report suggests.

A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) think-tank claimed the £1.4 billion-a-year JobCentre Plus network is "letting unemployed people down" by focusing on benefits rather than on factors preventing them from finding and keeping a job.

The CSJ said there was a "compelling case" for switching to a system modelled on Australia, where unemployment rates have dropped significantly since private and voluntary organisations were given the opportunity to assist jobseekers on a payment-by-results basis.

During its inquiry, the think-tank took evidence from a trade body representing the private companies which run the Government's Work Programme, who said many claimants referred to them did not have a CV, despite having received advice from JobCentres.

The Up to the Job? report found 40% of those moving off Jobseeker's Allowance made another benefit claim within six months. CSJ director Christian Guy said: "We need a radical new approach if we want to transform lives and tackle unemployment."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "Advisers are focused on making sure people get all the help and support they need to make the move into work. The flexibility given to JobCentre Plus managers means they can tailor the support they offer to local need, often using the expertise of local voluntary organisations."