Thursday, 29 March 2012

"The Report" revisits the Work Programme

Six months after it first looked at the Work Programme, The Report on BBC Radio 4 revisited it.  Helpfully, the BBC published a piece on its website which could have avoided the need to listen to it at all.  But it was interesting.  The main focus was on those charities and voluntary organisations which are struggling, finding the WP not financially viable.  Despite gagging clauses in the contracts which forbid sub-contractors from doing anything to "damage the reputation" of the primes or "attract adverse publicity, one charity, the Single Homeless Project, has pulled out of its contract with Seetec and has been the first organisation willing to talk to the media.  What it boils down to is that the primes, the big companies, are not passing down the money to the charities to enable them to deliver the support necessary to the clients; they are only passing down the risk.
The Boston Consulting Group has produced a report pointing out that the DWP itself says that the "dead weight figure" - the proportion expected to get work if there was no WP - is 28%, and the assumption in the WP is that between a half and three quarters of the money paid out will be on those dead weight numbers, i.e. unnecessarily.  Chris Grayling and the DWP say that this is a misunderstanding of the figures.  Richard Johnson, who used to be with Serco and was involved in the contract negotiations, says that the model is wrong and is encoraging "creaming and parking", as so many said it would.
So what of the clients, asked the reporter.  Of the several clients who were interviewed six months ago, none have found work.  One, an A4e client, has had two interviews but there were 170 applicants for one of the jobs.  He said he had had no support from A4e, but the local office disputes this.
Back to the voluntary organisations, which the primes were obliged to include in their tender for the contracts.  They were called "bid candy" by some, and there are those which were not even aware that they had been put into a bid document.  Others have not signed a contract and have had no involvement with the WP.  Grayling had said that he would crack down on this, but now says that he hasn't received a single complaint about it. 

The Financial Times revealed the other day that the DWP has contingency plans in case A4e is stripped of its contracts.


  1. Well, let's think about this Dobbies had 2000 applicants out if that were 60 interviews, Primark about 1000 applicants about 100 or so interviews, this is the employers recruitment process not a4e. A4e engage with employers to help screen candidates following a recruitment process, well we do anyhoo. Employers generally follow their own rules, if you've good a good rep from an employer and you supply good candidates, just similar to recruitment consultants do, employer will work with you. Each candidate is supported with interview techniques and to be fair some do well, some don't want a job and some talk themselves out of a job, we revisit unsuccessful candidates and support them in hopefully improving their application and interview techniques. But hey its a people business and can be fickle at times eh? We do our best and more.

  2. OK, AnonymousMar 29, 2012 07:02 PM, Apparently the above and beyond help given was an hour long interview session in a4e (not a job interview) instead of a 30 minute one? once a month, which means sitting and talking to your adviser. In 6 Months how come he hasnt got an interview via a4e. If A4e has contacts, good reputation with employers, how come they havent got him an interview. What value have a4e given to his job search. If employers wont hire him even with the so called expertise of a4e, then what is the point of a4e.

    They may claim they have too many clients to apply for jobs for all of them, But thats their problem, They signed up for this scheme, they promised to get a job for the clients. If they cannot get jobs for everyone or even interviews, then they are not doing what they are paid for by the government.

    If they say there are jobs out there, but other providers or job agencies are getting people the jobs, then What value has a4e added, why not go to the job agencies, or providers that can do the job.

    Why isn't there a log of the jobs that they have applied for on his behalf, or spoke to the employers, or if there is, why hasnt he seen it. Wouldnt this be better, since he could be applying for the same jobs as they do, or jobs that are completely out of his skill set.

    In 6 months, they havent got him a single interview, Could that be there are not as many jobs out there that they claim there are, (according to the local paper Local unemployment is at a 15 year high) or employers dont want to take a chance on the unemployed, Or Something that a4e is doing isnt working. Now the first nothing much can be done about that, but the 2nd and 3rd, its upto A4e to convince employers to hire them, that the candidate will be an asset. The 3rd, If a4e arent doing thier job then how come they still have the contract.

    1. I agree its bad if he still hasn't got an interview, what analysis of his skills, CV, interview techniques have been done? I've secured 9 job start this week followinht interviews and the employer did the interviews at our office and I am a trainer, you might be right about the calibre of the staff you're on about I can't say as I don't know the, all I know is we work bloody hard to help our customers, it is stressful but we keep going, sorry your guy has had a tum deal.

    2. I agree there are good people and they are getting lumped in with the bad.. This is the same guy who has been with the same company a4e, Three times, each time the same staff, the same everything. I do feel sorry for the good people there. and where you are. Respect has to be from both sides, and from the stories of this person and many many others, it appears a4e doesnt seem to respect you as a person. I can only say what i have experienced.. in the a4e i went too and am in now. I am sure you do your best and treat your clients as decent humans. I would have no problem with someone i knew who was doing their best. letting me know at every step whats going on. But frequently they just shove you into a room, blame you for not being able to get a job. Which does no one any good.

  3. Well I just had a reply from the local director of provider(sub contractor)of the WP I am obliged to attend.
    I have asked if they could please supply me with a mission statement and a list of programmes/training that are available..response? We are under a ministerial gag order and also this information would be in violation of our contract with the main provider,would you please stop this campaign of trying to find out what is none of your business as this hinders our chances of helping you. I think I must be
    confused,how can these questions not be answered? why the smoke and mirrors? I have asked these questions directly to my adviser,I get a stare,a shrug and asked to leave as the appointment has now been terminated.

  4. AnonymousMar 30, 2012 12:43 AM, I am not surprised. They say transparency, but its so transparent you are not allowed to see anything. As has been said If they have nothing to hide.

    The more i hear about these kind of problems, the angrier and more depressed i get. I know some do help,and are trying but when there is a gag order on them speaking to you, when you cant get the support you need, when it feels like they are putting barriers up, and not treating you as humans anymore.


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