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.
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.