There are other concerns. The plan is that primes will genuinely compete with each other; if they fall below target they will lose share of the clientele to their rivals. But no one has said what will happen if they are all falling below target to the same degree, which is very likely. Remember also that these are 7-year contracts. If the government which succeeds this one wants to change them or abandon them they won't be able to without paying out a great deal of money.
We're used to A4e finding new and dafter ways of describing itself; but one which popped up this week is the most absurd yet. "A4e is a social purpose company with the sole aim to improve people's lives around the world. We do this by helping them to find work, skills, direction – or whatever it is they need." Roy Newey, having moved on from Saudi Arabia, is currently looking for business in Latvia.
All the coverage in the last few days has shown how little the media understand, or care, about the history of welfare-to-work. And that's also evident in a review of next week's Fairy Jobmother programme in the Hartlepool Mail. After calling the show "popular" and "innovative", the piece tells us that, "Hayley worked with the candidates featured in the show for two weeks and tried to instill the skills and motivation required to get back into work. As part of the show, she helps them with basic CV writing and job hunting skills before lining them up with interviews." So none of them, we must assume, had been on a New Deal or FND course, where private companies were paid to do this, and apparently failed. I bet we won't be told. And how does "lining them up with interviews", which they almost certainly wouldn't have got without the cameras, affect people's perceptions of the world of the unemployed?