Thursday, 20 May 2010

The government's intentions - more information

The new coalition government has published a document which fills out their plans on a range of issues, including "Jobs and Welfare". This is what it says on that subject:
The Government believes that we need to encourage responsibility and fairness in the welfare system. That means providing help for those who cannot work, training and targeted support for those looking for work, but sanctions for those who turn down reasonable offers of work or training.
• We will end all existing welfare to work programmes and create a single welfare to work programme to help all unemployed people get back into work.
• We will ensure that Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants facing the most significant barriers to work are referred to the new welfare to work programme immediately, not after 12 months as is currently the case. We will ensure that Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants aged under 25 are referred to the programme after a maximum of six months.
• We will realign contracts with welfare to work service providers to reflect more closely the results they achieve in getting people back into work.
• We will reform the funding mechanism used by government to finance welfare to work programmes to reflect the fact that initial investment delivers later savings through lower benefit expenditure, including creating an integrated work programme with outcome funding based upon the DEL/AME switch.
• We will ensure that receipt of benefits for those able to work is conditional on their willingness to work.
• We support the National Minimum Wage because of the protection it gives low income
workers and the incentives to work it provides.
• We will re-assess all current claimants of Incapacity Benefit for their readiness to work. Those assessed as fully capable for work will be moved onto Jobseeker’s Allowance.
• We will support would-be entrepreneurs through a new programme – Work for Yourself – which will give the unemployed access to business mentors and start-up loans.
We will draw on a range of Service Academies to offer pre-employment training and work placements for unemployed people.
• We will develop local Work Clubs – places where unemployed people can gather to exchange skills, find opportunities, make contacts and provide mutual support.
• We will investigate how to simplify the benefit system in order to improve incentives to work.

(The "DEL/AME switch" is Freud's pet idea to give providers the amount of money saved by the government when someone gets a job.)
There's no indication of whether they intend to let current contracts run their course, or try to re-negotiate them and risk being sued for breach of contract.
And anyone with less than fond memories of Job Clubs will notice that they're coming back.


  1. Yup, I remember the local "job club" quite well, but not as a participant. Being on the receiving end of a barrage of phone calls & letters from totally unsuitable people does little to endear a potential employer. A waste of time and money for both !

    At one point, we had an ex-directory number installed for one contract.

  2. My worry is just what they mean by "Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants facing the most significant barriers to work". This could be used to throw almost anyone on to the tender mercies of a4E and their ilk. As someone over 50 who has been out of work for 5 years, I find it rather worrying.

  3. As a trainer on a "welfare to work" programme- where, in fairness, the team I work with love their jobs and our clients, I am concerned for OUR futures too!!! We work VERY hard, sometimes with exceptionally difficult clients, who in fairness, don't even WANT to work. I lost my home last year and don't fancy going through that again- therefore some clarity on the long term effect on existing contracts would be fabulous!!!

  4. I sympathise, Anon. But that's the result of privatisation, it puts everyone on short-term contracts with no job security. It looks like the legislation for the new contracts won't come until the autumn, so you should find that existing contracts continue until then.
    I used to work in the industry too, and I know that there are "exceptionally difficult clients who .... don't want to work"; nothing will change that.


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