Two things struck me in relation to the theme of this blog. The first is that it might provide an explanation for A4e's move to calling themselves experts in "welfare reform". The line between advisers and contractors has dissolved. Emma Harrison boasts of her contacts with government. How far are A4e, Serco, Reed and the others designing welfare programmes rather than just delivering them? The second thought is that A4e has recently moved into consulting.
In an earlier post I wrote about the invisibility of New Deal in its various incarnations from discussions on unemployment. It's now apparent that not even the government expects it to produce results. You may have looked at the government's website http://oneplace.direct.gov.uk which gives the results of its constant inspection of local authorities. One of its categories is "Earning - working to ensure that all local people thrive economically" which is about "Helping people to get work who have been unemployed a long time or don't work and claim benefits because of poor health". Several councils have been marked down they're not doing enough. They may well be spending a fortune on schemes, in conjunction with local employers, charities and other organisations, but if unemployment is high in their areas they are told they're not doing enough. They could be forgiven for asking what New Deal is supposed to be doing.