The Commons Public Accounts Committee has reported on the Pathways to Work programme. You may remember that the committee grilled A4e's Steve Marsland and Reed's Chris Melvin on why results had been so poor. Now the Chair, Margaret Hodge MP, says that Pathways "was not well implemented and has had limited effect." The committee's report said "the performance by the mainly private sector providers has been universally poor in relation to their main target group, those people who are required to go on the Pathways programme". The providers are accused of cherry-picking clients but still only reaching a third of their target figure. The saddest aspect of this story is in the last paragraph: "Employment minister Chris Grayling said: 'This report is hugely disappointing and just underlines how misplaced many of the previous Government's labour policies were. They just never got to grips with the challenges of getting people back to work.'" A political point, rather than facing the real implications. And this will have no impact on future contracts, so A4e and the others who failed needn't worry.
We've mentioned once or twice that A4e advertises for volunteer "mentors" to work with the unemployed. Now CDG, a rival provider, has gone a step further. The Indus Delta site reports that the company wants "an expert volunteer corps" of people with the necessary skills and experience to "complement the work that welfare to work providers such as CDG and the government undertake." Has CDG stolen A4e's thunder? "CDG is a dynamic charity that seeks to help those who are unemployed find and sustain meaningful employment" says their website. But like other such third sector organisations they have contracts from the DWP in the same market as the private companies. It is hard to see how large numbers of volunteers can be recruited to assist these companies in making money.