If it's such a good thing to employ people who have previously been excluded, one wonders why employers haven't thought of it before. Still, it's got to be a good thing if it results in people getting jobs. But one note of caution; does this mean that providers, in competition with each other, are signing up companies to offer preferential interviews to their clients? If so, how transparent will that be? There are some interesting implications here.
A4e's Jonty Olliff-Cooper has been at another round table, this time with Moat, a "social housing" provider. Now, I'll resist the temptation to rant about the pernicious concept of "social housing"; but the fact remains that around 60% (it may be more by now) of tenants in council or housing association properties are dependent on benefits. Olliff-Cooper says: “At A4e, every customer journey from welfare into work starts with a discussion about the breadth of problems they may face, not simply the status of their employment. We know, from the work we do every day, that housing is a concern for a significant number of people out of a job; given the changes in the sector for provisions in both employment and housing, it’s our responsibility to help make both of these things as accessible – and stable – as possible. Discussions with our partners and colleagues, like today’s roundtable, are an invaluable step towards achieving this, and helping improve people’s lives.” Is this, perhaps, the start of contracts between A4e and housing associations?