Monday, 19 April 2010

A quiet time

It's a quiet time on the government contracts front, and there's little news from A4e. But their business continues. Earlier this month, for instance, Middlesborough put more work their way with the Middlesbrough Enterprise Gateway (MEG), which "is encouraging self-employment and small business start ups with one-to-one coaching." See the nebusiness website.
Meanwhile, various accounts are appearing on the internet of people's experience of Flexible New Deal. As with New Deal, such accounts are not necessarily representative of the whole; they are by people who feel strongly enough to vent their frustration. And clients are, by definition, people who have been unemployed for a long time. But some common themes are emerging. Clients feel patronised, and say that the promised respect is not forthcoming. They complain of inconsistent information and pointless occupation. This was, perhaps, inevitable. There is little hope that these huge, money-wasting contracts will end with a new government. The small contracts will probably proliferate. It's a depressing prospect.


  1. How about adding the following to the list...

    Not notifying clients about appointments until the last minute; pushing clients into applying for unsuitable vacancies; computers not accepting flash drives or CDs (making the task of sending out applications next to impossible); appointments getting cancelled...

    ..and how's this for a patronising comment...

    "Get a job, and buy an iPod".

  2. I would also alike to add to Anon's comments: and don't forget to make a formal complaint to your PA at the jobcentre, even if you feel they will not take your complaint seriously because THEN you can contact your MP.

    The important thing is to follow the correct complaints procedure - so you don't give the provider any ammunition to use against you.

    And don't be afraid to stand up for your rights. Dignity and self-respect!

  3. Last time I signed on (I'm on FND) the clerk asked "who does your jobsearch, A4e or Ingeus"

    I'm curios to know if anyone else has been asked this question

  4. Providing instruction on the use of a mouse, reading out a so called "agreement" (which consists of vague "promises" lacking any real substance). Claiming to have conducted a "Getting to know you" session along with a subsequent "review".. Yes, patronising to the point of being insulting.
    Write to the manager of your local A4e office requesting a copy of their complaints procedures, then hand a written complaint to a manager at the Job Centre.

    Does it work ? -- Don't know yet, but A4e kindly sent me a photocopy of the JCP FND1 booklet, and I'm waiting for a reply to a formal complaint filed with JCP.

    P.S. It also helps to make a recording of every meeting with A4e (do it discretely or they will complain). The RIP Act allows you to record conversations without consent, and the recordings are your evidence.

  5. Discretly recording meetings is very good advice, Anon. Good luck with your complaint.

    I was at A4e on the old New Deal so I know I can empathise with you.

  6. I don't agree with the "discrete recording" idea if you mean carrying a recording device. Simply carry a notebook and let them know that you're writing everything down.

  7. FND1, page 14:
    "If you have any complaints about any aspect of Flexible New Deal, raise them with your provider.
    Your provider will have their own complaints procedures that they’ll explain at your first meeting."

    Whilst I am literate, and quite capable of writing, due to RSI, pen & paper is not an option. A recording device has the added advantage of being difficult to deny. Pen & paper does serve to distract attention from alternative devices though.

  8. Then put the recorder on the table openly.

  9. A comment has been left from someone who is currently on FND. I'm not going to publish the comment, for his or her own sake, but there are two things I want to say. Get in touch with your Jobcentre advisor. And, if you like, send a comment with your email address (which I won't publish, obviously) and I'll talk to you personally.

  10. I have recently started on this A4E programme and was looking forward to receiving some positive assistance with my job search. unfortunately my time there has been wasted as my adviser has not even assisted or met with me properly they was supposed to send me items which i am still waiting they have ask me to drop by to vist it them they were not there. I have raised this with the advisor so i hope that the service received so far will improve.

    heres waiting.........

  11. I've received a comment from someone in Birmingham which I won't publish at the moment because it makes specific allegations and I don't want to prejudice any complaints procedure. If the person who left the comment would like to post another (which I won't publish) with his or her email address we can discuss this.

  12. i have now been attending a4e for 2 months(should be 4 meetings) upto now they have rang me the day before my meeting twice to tell me its cancelled this week and to come as normal in 2 weeks time. ive just had my second meeting today and it consisted of my advisor bringing up my C.V on the computer, and swapping it around to put education, key skills etc. in different places, which in my opinion by the end of the meeting was worse then it was when i started!.I was also informed that A4E was collaborating with a major local company to get people into work and asked if id like her to put my name forward. I agreed extatically thinking this could be a break in finding employment i desperately need.fortunately for me the imbecelic advisor let slip the name of the company and asked that i dont mention she has accidentaly told me. as a desperate jobseeker i did what anybody in a desperate position such as mine would, and several hours later approached the company itself.They had no record whatsoever of my name been put forward!. on top of this ive had a sanction put on my benefit for apparently not applying for a job! when i definately did try for this job!..and hundreds of others at the same time which i have proof of in the form of rejection letters and e-mails.i appealed against the sanction, and after living on nothing for a month was informed that my appeal was successful, so the sanction will be shortened from 6 months to 3 months. i have now had to appeal again against this and have to wait another 30 days for my next decision.the sanction entails that i am no longer entitled to jobseekers allowance,and have to claim hardship allowance which is at a reduced rate...i am 37 years old and been forced to live on 40 pounds per week for something which is no fault of my own,and i am ready and willing to take ANY employment anyone can offer me. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON??? they may as well start handing out razor blades and noosed ropes with their pathetic hardship allowances!!


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