Monday, 12 September 2011

The Guardian article - questions

On 7 September Emma Harrison tweeted: "First meet of cross party advisory group who are committed to helping all families become working families. Feisty determined bunch." The following day she said: "So good. I am seeing a real determination at cabinet level to help turn around the lives of 120,000 families by supporting them into work." And at the time she knew that she stood to make money from this.
If you haven't read the Guardian piece please do so. Now, let's assume that at the time Harrison set up her Working Families Everywhere project she didn't know that the government would come up with contracts, handed out to the usual suspects, to do the work. Perhaps she envisaged only that local councils would fund it with community budgets and she could bask in the prestige. But that would surely have been naive. This government's dogma is all about private profit. So perhaps she saw no hindrance to A4e getting in on the action. But in all the publicity she was manoevred into saying that she would not be making any money out of it. There is some confusion in the article. "Harrison told the Guardian she withdrew from bidding when the government announced the first tranche of contracts, worth £200m, in February. She said she had accepted the unpaid role but had been 'shocked' to learn there would be hundreds of millions of pounds in funding. 'Chris Grayling told me he had got £200m. It was a bit of a shock … I thought: 'Oh crikey, that makes me feel a bit awkward. We will have to withdraw (from the bidding).'" How could A4e have already bid before the contracts were announced? What had they bid for? Am I missing something?
But there was a way out of this dilemma, a way to make money. Set up something under a different name and go for sub-contracts. Not as lucrative, but better than nothing. The "partnership" with the "former civil servant who until this year was running the Department for Education's 'support services for families with multiple needs'" will not surprise those who follow the revolving door of business, civil servants and politicians in this government's administration. And the DWP is right, there is no legal impediment to this arrangement. But it could be a PR disaster. Cameron may well want to distance himself from Harrison, and the "advisory group" could decide that they've been conned. As for the families who are supposed to be the beneficiaries - well, they're irrelevant.


  1. Doing some research into this New group. It says Beginning with the Gelsenkirchen family focussed service that moved 17% of participants into work and further pilots in wales, that acheived 33% job entry, we are now working with families across seven welsh counties.

    Building on the nationally validated evidence base of the family intervention methodology, and a4e;s family worklessness services.

    While this may not be a conflict of interest it is questionable practice.

    This is an interesting part Lack of direct delivery experience with families: family-based approaches to addressing worklessness are relatively new to the UK market, minimising Prime Contractors’ opportunity to develop and test relevant delivery models, or drive innovation. This makes it difficult for Prime Contractors to accurately forecast outcomes and delivery costs related to the programme.

    align complementary A4e support services in the local area, where applicable. E.g. Work Programme, skills delivery, Money Advice and Community Legal Advice

    support the Prime Contractor in its bid preparation through A4e’s Business Development function, where required.

    A4e has extensive experience in the provision of vocational skills support to both adults and children, including children excluded from school. Families Unlimited can offer a range of packages to build transferable skills (e.g. time management), more specific vocational skills (e.g. retail), and apprenticeships. This may be delivered via A4e’s innovative Vox Centres; purpose-built vocational training centres that provide formal training and hands-on experience in work-like environments, or through a specialist family skills team integrated into local whole family and employment services.

    A4e’s Enterprise division has been highly successful in supporting the unemployed to start a business, with 95% of A4e entrepreneurs successfully trading to 13 weeks, and 80% to 26 weeks. Families Unlimited are developing a new family-focussed enterprise offer that drives the creation of new Family Enterprises. These enterprises will engage the whole family in self-employment, helping to family to create their own trade, and a network of “staff” that ensure the enterprise’s ongoing success.

    from here Its ina word document if you search for Families Unlimited, its the 3rd one down.

  2. Not in reply to your post above!, Historian. I want to draw your attention to an apprenticeship job advert by a government appointed training agency whereby the applicant is expected to pay £2000 for the training!!!! I wonder how many people have applied.

    Have a look.


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