Thursday, 16 June 2011

Engaging with employers - and housing

An interesting piece in the People Management magazine, which is for HR professionals. CIPD chief executive Jackie Orme wants firms to think about how they can engage with the Work Programme, and she says that "there are solid business reasons to give opportunities to people who have previously been excluded by the labour market." This comes before a "round table" event involving Orme along with Chris Grayling, A4e's Andrew Dutton and a number of large employers. The piece doesn't say who convened this meeting or why, of the providers, only A4e is represented.
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?


  1. Someone needs to take Olliff-Cooper (along with the other "directors") to one side and point out that much of what is said at these meetings is hogwash. e.g.: “At A4e, every customer journey from welfare into work starts with a discussion about the breadth of problems they may face" - I don't have any recollection of such a discussion taking place whilst on FnD, nor is there any documentation to suggest that any attempt was made to talk about issues.

    Surely "helping improve people’s lives", if it appeared in an advertisment, would be grounds for a complaint being made to the ASA.

  2. FND was better in that the Provider moved their but and the year with them was more structured. I was with Work Directions/Ingeus.

    My time last year with a4e was as Anonymous has just said, a pointless exercise. They did nothing for me whatsoever.

    I was told my CV was fine. Well it is well formatted but rather unconventional in content.

    My Adviserin her 50s was specially selected to deal with older clients and she told me that frequently she was in tears after hearing her charges stories. I do not think she necessarilly asked questions but rather tried to establish friendships.

    She told me at the beginning that she planned to know me. I thought not in my case and she did not in the end. I kept the conversation focussed on her!

    I remember filling in initially a form asking about health then I was given a booklet to read about safetly in the a4e building then I had to answer a series of questions that the booklet contained to show I had read it. The question section could not be detached so your Adviser asked for the completed booklet back and therefore you did not have it for reference. How stupid was that!

    As fo compalining to The Advertising Standards Authority, I did recently when a4e were advertising vacancies, and the answer was there was not enogh evidence, and perhaps better to contact Customer Services .....

  3. To work for less than the minimum wage, people are working for far less its called a "placement" on the new deal and is going on now. these "placements" are on a mandatory basis. the placements DO NOT recieve the minimum wage per hour of work.

  4. I think I may have mentioned this before and if so forgive me. Companies over a certain size legally have to employ Disabled.

    Similarly this law should be also applicable to The Unemployed perhaps. At the very least there should be a mandantory requirement that Employers have to interview unemployed people if they have comparable skills to other candidates..

    moving on .....

    Good (For Once)

    Quote From Top Link On The Right Article Enabling people with long-term health conditions to choose their own therapies;

    This is especially of interest to me as I do not like the pushing of new super drugs manufactured by these super rich mega big companaies upon me, and the serious side effects they can cause.

    A few years ago I was referred by my lovely GP to The Royal Homeopathic London Hospital. I have received and am continuingto receive treatment. Whereas I am not cured, who is to say my condition could be a lot worse if I was not taking these homeopathiic remedies.

    My homeopathic doctor who has prior conventional training, also prescribed a supplement, Chromium, which has been scientifically proven to help blood sugar levels but she can only give me one months supply at a time. Therefore I have had the GP also prescribe it. Up until now ..... which of course means that if I want them I have to pay out of my very limited income.

    The intial friendly GP who had referred me to The Royal Homeopathis Hospital left the practice a couple of years ago and now that same practice is turning completely against complementary medicine.

    There are still many other routes for me to try but it seems at the moment privately.

    I accept there are some individuals are unable to choose for themselves their course of treatment.

    If only one could be given a choice but the system does not work that way unfortunately. It is one or the other.

  5. The DWP have some 25 PDFs on Provider Guidance.
    If your on a job programme or about to commence the Work Programmeone you really should check these out.

    For example, as regrds placements it clearly states you should not be doing the same work as a paid employee.

    Here'something interesting: If you file a complaint with the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) against a provider and that complaint is upheld - partly or fully - the provider has to pay £5,000.

  6. POLLY - please post again with your email address. I'd like to get in touch with you (in confidence).

  7. What's it with the "in confidence", Historian? And to whose benefit? Fair enough if posting something hinders the cause of those being affected by these draconian measures. But withholding information which is detrimental to the interests of the welfare-to-work industry? Is this fair? If you are scared of A4e, the DWP or the welfare-to-work industry there are plenty of other blogs which don't give a stuff about their threats. Try ipswichunemployedaction who are snowed under with (legal) threats from A4e and the other welfare-to-workfare provider scum. Nobody is going anywhere until these cowboys are ran out of town.

  8. Because, Anonymous, someone sent a comment which they asked me not to post but just wanted me to have the information. I want to follow it up. Of course there are plenty of sites which "don't give a stuff", as you say. They have a different purpose, and, as far as I can see, haven't achieved anything significant.

  9. Understood, no problemo, Historian :-)


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