Friday, 24 December 2010


It's a good Christmas Eve for A4e's Emma Harrison as the Express gives her a chunk of publicity. "CAMERON HIRES OUR JOBS EXPERT TO GET BRITAIN'S UNEMPLOYED WORKING" is the headline, and it's an entirely uncritical rehash of the "family champions" story. "Ms Harrison, 47, will begin by helping find jobs for 500 families who have never worked. It is hoped the project will eventually help to put all 120,000 such families into work. She is the founder of A4e (Action For Employment), which has 3,500 staff in 250 offices and has found work for more than a million people." And to emphasise the clout she now apparently has with government, "She will also be forming an advisory board made up of leading figures from the main political parties as well as the charitable and the private sectors." They've got a quote from Children's Minister Sarah Teather. But the really interesting bit is in the last sentence. Remember that yesterday Harrison was vague about where the money was going to come from. Well, now we know that "The campaign is funded by new Community Budgets and the Early Intervention Grant, which frees local areas from Government micro-management in how much they spend on vulnerable families." Which means that the local authorities will lose control over how they spend their money and be forced to pay Harrison and her team.
Where does this leave the Work Programme contracts? Are the other providers competing on a level playing field? Just how much influence does Harrison really have over the government? And more questions. Will any mainstream journalists bother to investigate what happens with this scheme, or will it be left to Private Eye and to blogs like this to bring a little reality to the scene?
A Merry Christmas to all our readers.


  1. Now these 'Family Champions', will apparently going into the homes of the disenfranchised to 'help' them out. What if the family refuses entry? Surely the Human Rights principle of the sanctity of one's home will be sacrosanct and families can simply say, "halt who goes there"? friend or foe!

    or should that be friend of a4e...

  2. Two points. Initially at least these families (and someone might like to consider what constitutes a family these days) will be volunteering for this, so the chances of success are much higher than they would normally be. And there is no legal right to the "sanctity" of one's own home. Various bodies have the right to enter. But no one will be forcing entry.
    Why "disenfranchised"? That means they haven't got the vote.

  3. As far as I know you can refuse entry to anyone UNLESS they are either a police officer with a search warrant or an official with a court order.

    And you are not legally obliged to share all your personal information with A4e or any other provider. You can stipulate what information you are prepared to divulge,how long they can keep it for and who they can pass it on to. This - Data Protection - is an area often overlooked by many claimants.

    Happy Christmas everyone

  4. Enough is enough, if someone is unemployed that does not give people the right to enter a persons home under the guise of "helping" that family, i really think this as larger implications into the lives of everyone.

  5. A great many officials have the right of entry to a private dwelling without a warrant. Preventing animal cruelty, attempting to recapture an escaped prisoner, prevention of harm to life or property are just a few of the 1200 different powers of entry, over half of which were enacted by New Labour. Some ancient ones remain such as pursuing a bee, suspicion of owning an unlicensed dancing bear and counterfeiting stamps.

  6. So are the people commenting on this item suggesting A4E be given the legal powers to enter a home without the need of a Court Order or Informed Consent?

    European Convention on Human Rights (1950)
    Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
    1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

    As incorporated into UK law under the Human Rights Act (1998)


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