Tuesday, 15 December 2009

From Britain to Israel and back again

Readers may remember the controversy that surrounded A4e's venture into Israel. It's summarised here. But the UK government and A4e have long since distanced themselves from this controversy. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website UK in Israel carries a newsroom piece proclaiming that "A4E - improves people’s lives and delivers social change (14/12/2009)" As an advert for A4e, this is great stuff. And, of course, it's the job of the Foreign Office to promote British business interests abroad. But this is hardly what you'd call objective.
Back in Britain, there are more PR pieces masquerading as news items in local papers. The Stourbridge News carries a piece entitled: "Help for credit crunch casualties" which tells us that "A4e - Action 4 employment - has found permanent jobs for 17 clients since bringing the Government’s Flexible New Deal programme to the borough in October." Out of how many clients? The Stourbridge man who is cited as one of the successes got a job with ..... A4e. Some unemployed people might take issue with the main thrust of this piece, which is that clients need "coaches" who can "work on a one-to-one basis with each customer, identifying their goals and, if existing, their barrier to go to work [sic]. These barriers can be anything from childcare, debt issues, substances abuses, housing problems etc." Well, some do. Many, however, have no "barriers" other than the fact that they can't find work. They may well be qualified and experienced. The piece continues: “Once these individuals are ready to work, they work exclusively with an assigned employment coach who will focus on preparing them for work, helping them with their CV, job search, interview techniques and so on.” This is tarring all the long-term unemployed with the same brush.

"Emma Harrison: Delivering on a Dream, The 30 Million Woman Who Won’t Get Out of Bed For Less" is the heading of a piece on the Oriona Ltd business website. You've heard it all before. But one statement, which has been repeated elsewhere is "There is no budget attached to each person." Emma is talking about current contracts, presumably FND. But it's puzzling. Each client comes with a payment from the government, the bulk of it to be paid if s/he finds a job. There's a minimum and a maximum. So it's not clear what she means.

1 comment:

  1. I never thought of A4e being New Labour luvvies, but the old story on the FCO webiste seems to confirm it. That and the hundreds, possibly thousands of complaints made against them over the years from disappointed former New Deal clints, which just seem to be ignored by our goveremnt even when they are supported by the mainstream media. Thye just continue to get more and more contracts.

    Glad you mentioned the fact that not all unemployed have debt and drink/drug problems. Many are just long-term unemployed. I see A4e makes not mention of how many employers they have on board to take the FND clients. And for some long-term unemployed I think having a CV updated is a waste of time, what do you update it with if you haven't, for example, worked for 3 years?


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