Meanwhile, one of the specialist sub-contractors in the Flexible New Deal business, Dering Employment Services, has gone bust. Dering was run by and for deaf people, and according to the Carley Consult site, "The company has claimed that the reasons for its failure stem from alleged non-payment of invoices and breach of contract on the part of one of the largest prime contractors with whom it works, and it is understood that Dering are considering legal action." No one is saying at the moment which prime contractor they are talking about. This comes at a time when Chris Grayling, the Work & Pensions minister, is trying to reassure the voluntary sector that they will get a slice of the Work Programme cake. In an interview with John Plummer of the Third Sector he points to various measures to ensure that charities and the like take a full part in the contracts. "We don't want to create a situation where you end up with a hard taskmaster prime contractor in effect exploiting voluntary sector organisations," he said. But Plummer maintains that "unless third sector organisations are used to bidding for huge contracts, they had better make friends in the City soon - or their role in government welfare projects could continue to be limited primarily to subcontracting."
Figures for FND outcomes have not been published, but A4e, in a PR piece on Wales Online, announces that they have got 5,626 people into jobs in Wales in the last 12 months. This means nothing, of course, without the total number of people on the programme; and we're told that "A4e has worked with more than 20,000 Welsh customers". That's only 28%.