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.

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.


  1. Sounds like the unemployed in Finsbury park are being used like security guards who would only be employed if they had a cscs card. If they are being made to wear some kind of uniform to point them out to the public that they are unemployed and working for nothing it would do more harm to their confidence than good.
    I have heard and seen on websites that some people are sending in letters to the jobcentre and refusing to sign data protection forms but it won't be risked by the majority who can't survive without benefits. I've been on many courses for the unemployed, the placements I was given never led to jobs and the fact was that the training provider just placed another person with those companies after someone completed their placement.
    Maybe after the recent troubles the unemployed will be used as some kind of visual deterrent to trouble makers but going down that road might alienate more people although it's a resource that won't cost any more money.

  2. I'd like to know the efficacy of these suggestions to refuse the WP. I'd like to think it works, but something tells me the DWP aint that gullible.

  3. Ingeus, at least from the feedback I've been getting, aren't kicking up a fuss when claimants are refusing to sign the Info Disclosure form(s).

    In fact, one posted on another site, that on his second Ingeus appointment they gave him a mobile phone with £10 credit.


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