Saturday, 14 August 2010

The View from Serco

With the announcement of the "framework" contractors for the Work Programme due in November, there's an interesting blog post by Richard Johnson of Serco which shows how that company is steering the process. Since Serco's entry into the sector they have given the impression of calling the shots, so Johnson's piece merits some study.
It starts with a nod towards the real point of this scheme, the people who will be subjected to it. "The potential of the Work Programme is quite extraordinary – using savings generated in benefits to extend services to millions of people currently excluded by unemployment. Many of these people are locked out of society as a result of their worklessness, they are trapped in a dependency on benefits that is debilitating, depressing and so horribly destructive." (Note the vocabulary; it would have been appropriate to talk about people "trapped in dependence on benefits", but using "dependency" instead reveals the laziness of thinking.) He then goes on to hype up the scheme as potentially much more than an extension of New Deal. It means that big companies are going to have to take all the financial risks; it is "a small part of an idea which is actually about the creation of a new structure, in which the state defines the desired product or impact of the frontline service and then contracts with an organisation to deliver those outcomes." In other words, the state gets out of the way and leaves companies like Serco and the rest to deliver the goods in whatever way they see fit.
He then defines "Tier 1" companies. I confess that I would need a translation of some of this, but what he has in mind is that between three and six companies would carve up the country between them, with only one company per region, and no company having more than five regions. This, he maintains, provides "appropriate" choice, but there is a clear failure of logic here. It delivers no choice whatever. The DWP proposes 11 regions, so if Serco gets 5, as I'm sure they want, it doesn't leave much for A4e and the rest. "Tier 2" organisations are the big companies and their sub-contractors, including voluntary organisations.
How much of this describes what is actually in the pipeline, I don't know. Buit clearly Serco, like A4e, see the Work Programme as heralding a whole new way of making large profits from the public purse.


  1. There is no such thing as benifit fraud. as the whole system is corrupt.

  2. Standguide is the company with serco ,watch out for trouble in the coming months.


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