Patrick Butler of the Guardian keeps on the case with a piece about the failure of the WP to involve the voluntary sector as it's supposed to. A charity called New Deal of the Mind has a very good track record of getting young people into work in the arts and media. It is now signed up as a sub-contractor of A4e. But it hasn't had a single referral from A4e. Butler hasn't managed to get to the bottom of this situation, but there's some evidence that JCP isn't referring many young people onto the WP. The voluntary sector is caught in the trap of not being able to invoke the Merlin rules (which is supposed to ensure that primes treat their supply chain fairly) because they don't want to destroy the relationship they have, or want to have, with those primes.
There's an interesting piece on the Public Finance website. One of this government's big ideas was to push groups of public sector workers into forming "mutuals" - companies owned by their workers - and bidding for contracts. That last bit was rarely mentioned. But now the predictions of many people are starting to come true. A health sector mutual has lost out in bidding for a contract to a private company. This does not please Patrick Burns, director of something called the Employee Ownership Association. "If you don’t do something with the commissioning environment, then in five or ten years time you will not be dealing with mutuals, you will be dealing with (outsourcing companies) Serco, Capita and Virgin. Not that they are bad companies, but it’s not the point." Someone from the Cabinet Office pointed out that there are "expert mentors" in place to help "pathfinder mutuals". These mentors include A4e. At some point this is going to bring about another interesting situation.