Monday, 21 March 2011


"It's not about maximising profits," said A4e's Mark Lovell, in that strange little piece on the BBC news. That's not a statement that any of the big players - Serco, Capita and G4S, as shown on "Britain's Secret Fat Cats" - would dream of making. It would be ludicrous. They are companies with shareholders, and maximising profits is their entire raison d'etre. They might express the intention to improve people's lives in the context of bidding for contracts; they could hardly do otherwise. But that is incidental. It's a business. And the government obviously acknowledges that. Grayling talked recently about providers being able to make "shedloads" of money. And now Freud has spelled out the scale of those payments. Providers will get between £4,000 and £14,000 for each client who secures work. The higher amounts are for outcomes for people who have been out of work for longest and are regarded as "hardest to help" - and who stay in work for two years. Freud is explicit that it's these incentives which will make the Work Programme successful. The profit motive rules.

So is A4e any different from its competitors?

One obvious point of difference is in the amount of publicity the firms seek. In the case of Serco et al that's nil. They don't need it, and don't get it. That's why their dominance has crept up on people. But for A4e, or at least for its boss, publicity is an essential strategy. There are a few signs, however, that this hunger for the limelight may be counter-productive. The words, "Anybody but A4e" have been uttered by people in local councils.


  1. Historian

    As ive said time and time again on this forum awarding welfare to work contracts to private profit making companies will never be a recipe for success.

    Seems now from your post above highlighting the comments from Freud that no lessons have been learnt from past failures and the work programme will be no different.

    Again putting a price tag on someones head for getting them into "sustainable" employment means that the unfortunate clients subjected to the work programme will be treated merely as a vehicle for generating profit.

    As for Mark Lovell's comments on profit not being the primary concern, what a load of tosh!! Why if profit is not the motive, do A4e "appear to" hire and fire their employees so ruthlessly? "Improving Peoples Lives" I think NOT!

  2. Stay in a job for two years!! what nowadays nearly impossible.

  3. Again I ask someone to tell me if sustainable work still remains the goal under The Work Programme.

    As I have already said I am on Stage 5 which I had confirmed last week by The Job Centre is still part of New Deal. However the sustainable job is now become any job.

  4. 2nd in the series on growth in the UK economy on Radio 4 Tuesdays 11 to 11.30am

  5. At this winding-down stage of FND, any job is an outcome, sustainable or not. Under the Work Programme, payments to providers will be graduated and a long-term job is definitely the goal, attracting the larger payments.

  6. In the words of my welfare-to-work "advisor": "We are a private company out to make as much money as possible". Says it all really!


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