Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Business as usual

Anyone who thought that A4e's embarrassment over the workless families contracts would prove a turning point in the company's fortunes is probably guilty of wishful thinking. It's business as usual. Roy Newey is in India with a trade delegation of training organisations, including some FE colleges, and he is quoted as saying, "eastern India provides exciting opportunities to further strengthen India-UK cooperation in skills and education sector." Mark Lovell has been in the US. I suspect that Emma Harrison will not be giving interviews for a while; but there's a piece in the Sun, (dated 1 September) which is straightforward PR for her; and the Sun, sadly, has a bigger circulation than the Guardian. And now the BBC is running an item about research into "problem families" which reminds us that Cameron "appointed Emma Harrison as a 'family champion' to lead a drive to get workless families back into employment" with not even a nod to the Guardian revelations. We won't get to know whether Harrison's cosy relationship with MPs has been damaged, but it won't affect the company's ability to win contracts in the future.

The Financial Times previews the Radio 4 programme on the Work Programme (Thursday 15 September, 8.00 pm). Chris Grayling denies that there will be any renegotiation of the contracts, although "providers now say privately that they intend to make cost savings if they are unable to meet targets, raising the spectre that very little will be spent on helping those going through the scheme." And with the sort of irony which leaves one shaking one's head in disbelief, the programme quotes Hayley Taylor as saying that the WP is "crude and often ineffective". " “Grouping people together is just not going to work because what someone who has been long term unemployed needs and what someone who has been newly made redundant needs are two totally different things,' she said." If that's the level of insight of the programme, with all those staff and clients whose views were solicited ignored, then it won't be worth listening to.


  1. So cost savings will be made as providers will soon feel he pinch? No surprise there then! I wonder what will happen to clients? Will they be passed from one failing provider to another?

    I don't understand Ms Taylor, I really don't. Is she really sying that the WP is bad because people are grouped together irrespectve of needs, backgrounds and abilities? Hallelujah! Welcome to planet Earth or the Milky Way at least!

    This is what I and many others were saying about the one size fits all approach of ND an FND. Were we listened to? Funnily enough, this is when Ms Taylor worked for A4e!

  2. When it comes to statements by Ms Taylor I can only suggest we're in danger of trying to make sense where none exists!

  3. Oh Dear God - Hayley Taylor states the obvious yet again! I expect David Cameron and Chris Grayling are waiting expectantly for her next revelation.
    As for cost savings, they have already started with staff - one of the training providers in the East of England have asked if the staff would consider part time hours!! The staff targetted had already been treated very badly during the tupe process from A4e ( 2 people are taking A4e to an employment tribunal and I am sure that more will follow).
    It was always inevitable that costs would be saved regarding the clients needs as there will be very little money in the pot for the first to years anyway.

  4. Just listened to the BBC R4 prog. Anyone else?

    Intersting that Ms Taylor is now speaking against A4e and the ND and FND. Great. However, her words are like as much use as misdirected artillary shell is to a soldier.

    Pity she did not or felt she could not at the time.

  5. Something interesting

    The delegation, led by the UK India Business Council (UKIBC), brings in a range of skills and education providers including, A4e, City of Westminster College, Tribal, Edexcel, City & Guilds and Hull College.

    The UK is the partner country for the summit and David Blunkett, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough will address the inaugural session.

    Didn't Blunket have something to do with a4e??

  6. Yes. Blunkett was an 'advisor' to A4e collecting a reported £30k per annum! Nice 'work' if you can get it.

    P.S. It's worth remembering that the comedian, the late Linda Smith labelled Blunkett 'Satan's bearded folk singer'! Apt? You decide...;-)

  7. right first off, do tax payers know they are wasting money sending me on a i.t course. i say that because i have an a level in i.t and even though i showed this i was sent on a three hour course on how to use a computer?? i mean really? well yes and you guys paid for that. not only was it a waste of my time. i could have been looking for a job with that time and not been wasting tax payers money, i mean what moron thinks that is a goog cost of your money (other than buying themselves a pool or an apple) with tax payers money. how long is it gonna take for people to look in to this and say why??


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