Friday, 10 September 2010
"Iain Duncan Smith looks at German model for helping families". That's the headline of a Guardian article which gives publicity to A4e's scheme operating in Germany and pioneered in Dusseldorf. It purportedly cut welfare costs there by a third. It all sounds, on the surface, sensible. "The problem is that we have low esteem in such families and also there is no culture of family so that the younger members of the family do not learn respect and self-regulation. We have to get them out of the home, out of being in front of the television so that they are part of the real world and can communicate both as a family and with other people. They need such basic skills it is not surprising they cannot get work," says Maximilien Dorostian, the European director for the "welfare to work provider" A4E. They have to give them the habit of work and of interacting with people, he says. He doesn't say how, though, and, beyond compulsory work placements, it's hard to know what it might mean. The article says that "As we've said before, the prospect of A4e, or any provider, having power over whole families is unnerving, to say the least. But Duncan Smith is impressed, so it's probably going to happen.