Some people deeply hate the Work Programme, just as they hated the various schemes which preceded it, whoever the providers are. I understand that. But there are some people who continue to claim that it's illegal, and will go on doing so whatever the government says. Some maintain that you can refuse to engage with the WP provided you write saying you believe i'ts illegal or something (whilst publishing disclaimers about encouraging people to do so.) Has anyone actually tested this yet? I've seen no evidence. And I would be very surprised. If you want to make a principled stand, do it in the knowledge that you're going to lose your benefits.
Sunday, 14 August 2011
A4e and the riots (well, sort of)
It's quiet in August; there are very few official meetings because all those who can afford to have gone on holiday. So there's nothing much to report, except to highlight this piece from the Islington Tribune. "A unique community marshalling scheme at Finsbury Park could become a blueprint for trouble-spots in the capital which are vulnerable to riots, it emerged this week." 20 guys patrol the area around Finsbury Park station in an initiative "jointly organised by Finsbury Park Business Forum and employment agency A4e." This scheme was publicised last year on the finsburyparkpeople website where we were told that "The new scheme will help not only travellers at the station, but also the unemployed men and women who will take on the marshalling jobs. Their wages will be paid by the Job Centre and employment service A4e." Something a bit odd there, perhaps? The writer doesn't understand work placements? The piece was later updated with a comment from the Chairman of the Business Forum: "The purpose ........ is for the unemployed to gain experience, skills and training in-order to enhance their employability. Our aim is to foster an environment that encourages mutual respect, self-development, and partnership, sense of self-worth, training and thereafter, employment for our Marshals." All very nice. But I wonder how many people realise that these marshals are not getting a wage. And I wonder how many of them feel deeply patronised by the implication that because they're unemployed they need to develop all those qualities, not having them already.