There's a continuing chorus of complaints from the voluntary sector about their role in the Work Programme. They don't like the "cherry-picking" which is going on and means that only the hardest to help are being referred to them. And they don't like having to wait for months to be paid what little they can earn. Chris Grayling's response is to tell them that they signed contracts and knew what they were getting into. Which is more credible than Iain Duncan Smith's assertion that his welfare cuts are about helping people rather than punishing them.
Sunday, 22 January 2012
People helping people?
Emma Harrison hasn't been much in the media lately. Perhaps questions about A4e's profits would be embarrassing. But her pet project, Working Families Everywhere, is still alive in a few places, and Emma has been in Poole, Dorset, where the council took on four "family champions". The write-up in the Bournemouth Daily Echo is a classic of spin. We learn that Harrison was "appointed by David Cameron to spearhead People Helping People". That's obviously Harrison's name for it, not Cameron's. She visited a children's centre and said, "There are jobs out there." Well, that's encouraging. A couple of long-term unemployed are quoted, keen to get back into work, and one says that people don't know where to start. Which, of course, begs the question of what the various expensive schemes run by A4e and others have been doing. But the confusion about Harrison's project is evident. One woman says, "We need to get everybody back out into the community and helping each other" Harrison has implied before that if you can push people into volunteering you've succeeded in making them "working families". You haven't, of course.