Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Who Knows Best?

Channel 4 bosses think that you can't have too many programmes about unemployed people, so Emma Harrison is on our screens again on Tuesday 10 August. It's the second in a series called "Who Knows Best" (the working title was "The Wager", but that was obviously dropped.) Ms Harrison is billed as "the country's top recruitment expert", and we're told that "Emma's approach is to work with people: 'I walk by their side, hold their hand and we go on a journey resulting in them getting a job that transforms their lives.'" This piece doesn't mention A4e, and it may well be that Channel 4 has taken the same approach as the BBC did with FR&J; they are not advertising the company as long as they don't mention it, but everybody else can.

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%.


  1. Surely Emma's area of expertise is how to get lucrative government contracts, not reducing unemployment.
    The local media, as Historian has pointed out on several occasions, just pusblishes A4e press releases without question.

  2. Make no mistake people we're at war. We hav been declared the enemy by the robber barons and their toff elite spokespuppets: their target is the welfare state.

    This isn't just colourful rhetoric, it's the reality. Another show with Emma Harrison? Another attempt to hoodwink the public about benefits and claimants? We're being softened up for the government to introduce whatever lunatic radical reforms it will see fit.

    Life for the unemployed, the sick and the vulnerable will never be the same again.


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