Friday, 5 July 2013

Just an idea ....

This is pure fantasy, because it depends on the closing down of the Work Programme and all such private-profit schemes, and that's not going to happen.  But just suppose ....
Start by ending the WP and strengthening the Jobcentres, with more staff, retraining and more resources; put them into partnership with local councils.  They would do the basic stuff where necessary, like CVs and interview techniques.
Now, that £400 attachment fee which the WP providers have been getting.  Instead, put that into a notional account for every person who has been out of work for, say, 6 months.  The claimant and JCP adviser together decide what needs to be done to enhance the claimant's job prospects.  It could be a training course (a real one) up to the value of £400.  I know some training costs a lot more then that, but I think you'd find FE colleges and genuine training bodies willing to put together proper courses for that when the money was sitting there.  It could be used for driving lessons; after all, so many jobs depend on having a driving license.  Any other ideas?  It wouldn't have to be spent all in one go.
Of course, if the claimant signs up for something expensive and then doesn't complete it, there would have to be a good reason.  But I don't think there would be many defaulters if it was clear that this was genuinely useful.  And those outcome payments?  Well, they could go to restoring the money which used to help someone bridge the gap between starting a job and getting paid.
As I said, it's not going to happen.  Pity.

46 comments:

  1. The only way I could see something like that happening is if a load of people (preferably those with many years unemployment experience and some legal knowledge) got together and formed their own parliamentary party. How hard is it to run a country?

    You said it was pure fantasy, so how was that, H? :)

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  2. The One True Elg5 July 2013 at 15:53

    Saving the 3 billion (So far) spent on the WP would probably do all that and a lot more.

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  3. Totally agree it is a "Fantasy" First off it makes sense,I have asked about Training and the usual response is "We have tried that in the past(on other programmes) and still people have not found employment" In order to stop anybody from abusing Training opportunities,have the client agree to pay a nominal fee,if after 6 Months,they still have not found employment,say £5 pw this would be a strain for some(myself included) and instead of giving the WP providers outcome and sustainment payments use it to fund more training.....Like you said Fantasy!

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    1. 736 million pounds has so far been paid to WP providers, in addition customers were/are on benefits. I think the next 2 years will see some change as attachment fees are to be reduced in year 4 of the WP. Job Centres should be more involved as should large employers. Some sort of "Big Society" with proper training and work experience - not stacking shelves for a fortnight!

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  4. Historian
    Too sensible so will never happen.
    Would be spun as giving the unemployed something for nothing so will never happen.
    Similar to a long scrapped idea that each individual should have a life long learning account to spend as and when required on suitable training/further education. Also too sensible so never happened.
    No element of punishment - where's the stocks and treadmill? So will never happen.


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  5. And what about those wishing to start a business?

    Other than the NEA (New Enterprise Allowance) which pays a mere £65 for just 13 weeks and a paltry £33 for the next 13 weeks, with the possibility of a £1,000 loan, there is little to no help people wishing to start up on their own. There is also precious little via the WP, other than some advisors encouraging clients to go self employed and claim working tax credits even if they have no real intention of starting their own enterprise.

    So why not put the money wasted on the WP into real business support? Proper one-to-one mentoring, building a relationship with local chambers of commerce, business workshops, seminars and networking events. I have done most if not all of the above off my own back!

    Furthermore, why not give a business start up jobseeker (upon completion of a viable business plan), say an extra £30-50 a week? And perhaps access to low interest loans of between £5,000 and £10,000? Why not? Especially as banks are refusing to lend money to even solvent profitable businesses.

    All that is needed is some imagination and some guts! Something that is sorely missing from this government in spades and indeed across parliament as a whole.

    As Historian says, things like this are unlikely to happen. There is far too much ideology stopping it and too many vested interests! Shameful!!!

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    1. NEA worst scheme ever, first of all they give you less money than JSA (£65pw for 13 weeks then £33 for 13 weeks), the supposed loan is a none-starter, the loan provider will say you don't have enough income to pay it back.

      Well obviously as your sole source of income at the start is the £65 a week, and the only categories with the exception of salary is all the various benefits (says it all really).

      Avoid like the plague.

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  6. How's about something that would be just fair rather than radical?

    the gov is planning to spend £1bn per year on the WP. now, total annual spend on on working age benefits only comes in at £2bn. so, the gov could could therefore scrap the WP and increase benefits by 50%.

    the advantage would be that the money would go to people that need it. it would go to people who would spend it in the real economy. it would go to people who have paid their NI... and it wouldn't go to Emma.

    4 good reasons.

    oh, and a fifth would be that u/e people would have more chance of getting a job!

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    1. "increase benefits by 50%"
      Now that really is fantasy. And not a good idea.

      Delete
    2. It would be completely unacceptable to the public. One Labour idea is to return to the contributory principle; so if you lose your job and your NI is up to date, you would get more benefit for the first few months. I'd support that. And I would certainly support raising benefits in line with inflation and a bit more. But not 50%. Politically and economically impossible.
      The post was about how one could redirect the money currently being wasted on the WP.

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    3. a 50% increase in benefits would simply raise the current under 25 level to that of the over 25 level; and the current over 25 level to somewhere short of the basic state pension. hardly a fortune!

      so, not "economically impossible". it would cost nothing.

      and the fact is, people can't get by on the current rates:witness the food banks. so, money well spent.

      as regards public opinion, this has been formed by an almost deafening din of propaganda ("raw sewage") from the right-wing press. and this is something which should be being challenged.

      I agree with Owen:

      http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/whats-killing-labour-a-thousand-failures-to-oppose-the-cuts-8680389.html

      so, not "politically impossible".

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    4. I also agree with Owen - but he's not advocating a 50% increase in benefits. And your arithmetic is wrong. Of course it wouldn't "cost nothing".
      No more on this subject, please.

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  7. I do agree with Historian,Billions spent on what? Keeping the WP alive,the purpose of the WP was to Train up the unemployed,but the profit motive has gotten in the way.

    It still confuses me,the fact that as a client of the WP I have to sign an agreement to what is expected of me,but if they fail to meet even the very basics of their contract they face no penalty,where as sanctions are enforced on the unemployed,a two tiered system that is supported by the DWP.

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    1. Small, pedantic point! You say:
      "It still confuses me, the fact that as a client of the WP I have to sign an agreement to what is expected of me"
      You don't have to sign this, nor do you have to sign an "action plan". In fact there is very little you have to sign. I refuse to sign anything but initial for attendance and travel expenses.
      The process of trying to get you to sign is psychological - they believe it signifies acceptance and that having signed you are far more likely to conform. It is the same psychology that lies behind the Nudge Unit's latest "commitments" document.*
      I urge everyone to sign only what they really have to sign.

      * sample here:
      http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?383804-work-programme-after-2-years/page14

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    2. You could sue for breach of contract in the Small Claims Court. Such a claim would probably fail but it would be fun trying.

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  8. Sounds very much like the Individual Learning Account scheme which ended due to mass fraud about ten years ago.

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    1. Some similarities, but much easier to control.

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  9. Sorry for going off topic, but just highlighting more lightweight glossing over of the bigger picture: Nick and Margaret - We All Pay Your Benefits.
    Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford explore life on unemployment benefit. BBC1, 11 July.

    http://tvguide.tvchoicemagazine.co.uk/34820764_tv_Nick_and_Margaret_We_All_Pay_Your_Benefits

    Considering Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford both hail from the awful Apprentice, and the BBC commissioning programs with titles such as 'Saints and Scroungers', I don't hold out much hope of this being tackled in anything more than a tabloid fashion. I don't think I'll be watching!

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    1. I don't think I'll be watching either. Note the "we" and "you" divide again - totally false distinction. Doesn't bode well.

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  10. I don't think the problem is that the unemployed lack training or experience but more they lack opportunities i.e. jobs. We need to create more jobs and a LOT more jobs because there are now more people looking for work. Personally, I don't think the UK economy has the capacity to do this. It is finished, which is why the Tories are looking to outsource public sector work to the private sector and cut benefits.

    Incidentially, one of my A4E advisors contacted a local college about a year ago to discuss the possibility of the college opening up some courses to help us retrain. I suggested that I would be willing to start a NVQ in catering. My advisor came back to me and said that the college would be willing to offer me a place on their catering course but only until AFTER I had found a job (probably so I could then pay for it). Perverse.

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    1. There are plenty of courses at colleges that you can do, they will get you a level 2 qualification and they are free - the government will pay for unemployed people to do them, the only catch being that they must be part time (or you lose your JSA).

      I have just done such a course, 11 of us on it at the start with 9 unemployed. End of course all but me are now in full time permanent employment and I have had multiple job offers (the like of which A4E couldn't possibly get me), dependent on me having a driving licence, which of course A4E won't fund so I am having to do this myself. And this is the case countrywide - you have the qualifications in this sector and you can virtually guarantee yourself a job as there is a massive shortfall of QUALIFIED people. And that's the sticking point, you need the qualifications.

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    2. Why not give the 400 quid attachment fee to an employer for every unemployed person they offer proper work experienxe to. Bingo, reference, opportunity to "give something back". Bob's your uncle... Bob

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    3. I wouldn't go along with that. What is "proper work experience"? And lots of people are not lacking in work experience. It's qualifications or skills (or, as in Polly's case, a driving licence) which they need.

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    4. The job centre already offer an employer £1,200 if hey take on somebody under 25 that is months+ unemployed.

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    5. Polly is correct:

      If you do not already have a level 2 qualification then your first level 2 qualification is free in anything. GCSE through to gas-safe certification.

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    6. Polly - I have an ICT qualification (ECDL L2) which I did at college part-time. I also have a 2:1 degree in History, 7yrs office experience and 5yrs catering experience. By your terms I should have a job - but I don't. Why? Because there is a lack of jobs. Being qualified does NOT guarantee you a job. This is the problem and it is not being addressed by this gov't.

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    7. I said "in this sector" -
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-22516087

      and you don't need to be young, you just need the relevant qualifications and a driving licence. In some areas (sadly not where I live) you can charge £25/hr as a self-employed maintenance gardener and all you need is a level 2 in horticulture which you can get in a year.

      Certainly there is a lack of jobs everywhere else though.

      Delete
  11. When i was last at a4e before this debacle that is the current a4e. I was asked to teach other clients how to use the computer because their computer teacher didnt want to. SO I thought yes why not, they said since i was so good at computers and teaching they would try to get funding for teaching.. 8 weeks later after asking each day "any news on funding", they say no we wont fund anything.. forget that I could have walked into 4 jobs

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    1. If you want to teach adults then PTLLS courses are available free nationally and have been for about the last 5 years, if you want to teach children then you need a degree and a PCGE, student fee's and maintenance grants are currently non-repayable until you earn over 30,000 a year + PGCE's and degrees for people going into teaching currently receive partial government funded (4-8k a year + a lot of additional grants on application).

      The sad fact is that the untrained and underpaid staff at the JCP and A4E probably wouldn't know where to start.

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    2. If you are giving the attachment fee to service users, where are the staff going to come from?

      The main reason the JCP is awful these days is because they are expected to see a client in under 15 minutes...i find it hard to criticise them when they are working to such targets.

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    3. I agree. As I said, you would need to give JCP more staff and training, and more resources.

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    4. Regarding my comment about "proper work experience" - learning or building on skills that may improve your chances of a job. It has been reported that previously people were only stacking shelves in Poundland for 2 weeks. What about learning about stock control, customer service etc. The attachment fee could cover the cost of a Driving Licence.

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    5. No, I still don't agree. None of the things you mention should require someone to work for no cost to the employer, let alone pay the employer to "train" you. We are too far down that road already.

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    6. I agree,the WIS programme,although it has some merit,the problem exists that the Employer is only out £3 pw,once the apprenticeship is over,paying NMW seems to stick in their throat as the WP has now been paid an outcome payment they are only too happy to provide another apprentice.

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  12. Ive just come back from "Signing on", i was told written acceptence of a persons jobsearch is no longer acceptable? and printout of jobs applied for must be shown, is this right? yet i thought the jobcenter could not mandate a person as to how a jobseeker shows evidence of their jobsearch?

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    1. This should tell you all you need to know:

      http://www.donotsign.com/

      Delete
  13. I had a similar conversation and said no problem..Where is a Computer and printer I can use? "We do not have those facilities available" Well neither do I what do you suggest?..They accepted hand written,but a few visits ago they would not accept screen shots of the UJM,guess it just depends on the "Mood"

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  14. Officially they can mandate you to use UJM, but they cannot mandate you to have an account on it, or a CV, or input any personal details.

    They also cannot mandate you to use it anywhere but at a JCP 'Internet Access Point', and they can then only mandate you to use an access point if the demand on that point is 'reasonable'.

    IR if they only have a few very busy points, under the DWP rules you don't actually have to use universal job match at all.

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  15. Obi Wan Kenobi8 July 2013 at 06:39

    If you read this properly you will see that the Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) is not mandatory if you have recently finished The Work Programme.

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/167181/response/406022/attach/html/3/3121%20Response.pdf.html

    If I were you I would print this out and take it with to the JCP as Mark Hoban is trying to tell people it is mandatory after you finish the WP.

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  16. Can people please look for relevant posts on this blog and put your comments there, if they are not related to the current post. I don't want to stop discussions, but we end up repeating ourselves. Just use the search facility above for, say, UJM or MWA.

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    1. Attachment fees and job outcome payments are set to reduce - attachments to nil in year 4. Not sure when outcomes (years 6 and 7?) fall and by what level.

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  17. I try to keep abreast of anything to do with the WP,but have noticed since the last results were released they (the WP) have been very closed mouth about it.

    My Provider,rather than trying to engage with me,seem to be withdrawing services,which were meagre to begin with and are now nothing,show up,present your job search and leave,has anybody experienced the same?

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    1. That is exactly what happens at my WP provider. I have monthly appointments with my advisor, which are merely a repeat of the last appointment, same useless conversation, quick look at my job application tracker and a quick online job search, then booked another appointment for the following month and sent on my way. I have my final appointment on the WP on Tuesday.

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  18. This sounds like an excellent idea. The Work Programme "attachment" fees are unaccountable and a complete waste of money. It contradicts the dubbed "payment by results" model.

    In reality, the attachment fees help WP providers cover their overheads. Providers were never going to take such a huge risk and get nothing back in return as initial payments.

    The political agenda sadly distorts genuine career paths and potential to return to employment. Work is not just work - work is a career. Job Seekers are never really asked what their job aspirations are. Only until that is established will people become long-term, genuine contributors to wider society.

    The Work Programme is wholly unnecessary. In reality, it is an extension of the public sector and an extension of Job Centre's. They don't do anything radically different to JCP's. Ironically, reforming Job Centre's would have chimed into the Tory mantra of having more streamlined public services, instead, they created new wasteful structures around a flawed Programme.

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  19. News from Sheffield about some "post Work Programme support". An 8 week full time mandatory "Essential Employability Skills" course. I use the term "course" very loosely although, this time, it's Sheffield College "in partnership" with JCP and Edexcel a "qualifying company".

    Course content is dire (and familiar to any WP victim) ranging from the patronising Jelly Baby Treehttp://binged.it/15HWCca; to the insulting: "use deodorant" to the punitive: A section called "Modifying Your Behaviour" and constant calls for "flexibilty" (on the part of workers not employers...) The ethos is the same old Thatcherite message "it's your fault you're unemployed" - nothing to do with mass unemployment.

    What's significant about this familiar drivel is the involvement of Sheffield College, "mainstreaming" this kind of punitive waste of time/taxpayers money. The irony is that anyone wanting to do a useful vocational course (at Sheffield College for example) is not allowed to until the "course" finishes. Same goes for voluntary work or study. The message is: stop what you're doing - even if it helps you find work - and PASS this course. Sheffield College is only paid for those "learners" who pass the course so there's another round of the farce familiar to A4e attendees: you pretend to learn, we pretend to teach/assess, the JCP is happy and - in this case - Sheffield College is paid per "successful" "learner".

    60/65 people started in July and Sheffield College is planning to provide 700 places for "learners" by September.

    This "initiative" feels like a rushed job: the course materials are constantly being revised; the tutors are (largely) appalled at the rubbish they're supposed to "deliver". Basic stuff like pointing out fire exits has been omitted.

    Happily, there's been resistance: a petition calling the "course" a "back to school approach" which needs to change has been signed by a majority of us who started in July. Template letters to MPs have been handed out and UNITE community union has been recruiting. College management and JCP seem very jumpy about the course and criticism of it. They should be.

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