Wednesday, 22 January 2014


A4e's accounts for 2012 / 13 have been filed, but won't be available for a day or two.
The company will no doubt be hoping that it will get a big slice of the latest outsourcing pie, Community Work Placements (workfare to the rest of us).  The new issue of Private Eye details the provisions and payment structure of this pernicious scheme.   We knew that it would be the same companies which are involved in the Work Programme - that is government policy.  But the Eye points out that there is a potential clash of interests here.  Payment is in stages, for starting a placement, being on it for 12 weeks, 22 weeks on CWP or in work, and for staying in work for 6 months.  It's a clear disincentive to encouraging someone into short-term jobs before the 22 weeks is up.  The magazine also says that the charity sector has no use for the people who will be on workfare, and lists a few charities which have said they will have nothing to do with it.  Still, the providers are allowed to put people into placements in their own businesses, so there will be a lot of that, no doubt.   Many poor souls will find that they have spent two pointless years on the WP with, say, A4e, and then are given back to the same company for a workfare stint.  And since the DWP itself doesn't expect more than a fifth of those on workfare to find permanent jobs, it will be relatively cheap, and therefore not particularly profitable for the providers.  What is it for, then?
The fall in unemployment reported today has to be good news for those who have benefited.  Even long-term unemployment is down a bit; but everybody who is on a workfare scheme is recorded as employed, so it's not as clear as it should be.


  1. Things never change.. its always the same faces in charge. 3 times with a4e.. 3 times the same.. 4th time probably with a4e and the same thing again... not a happy bunny..

  2. I recall I've posted about CWP before at some length, so I won't go over old ground, but might be worth mentioning that this is a scheme so unpopular (so far) that even some of the workfare usual suspects may well leave well alone, including at least one of the ones mentioned as possible providers in Private Eye. I would be absolutely astonished if there isn't a significant shortfall of placements.

    The evaluations of the pilot (Support for the Very Long Term Unemployed) suggested the impact is pretty poor. They're available on DWP's website, although Jonathan Portes has provided a helpful summary of some key points here;

    1. Although I do not support what I am aware off regarding MWA/CWP/Workfare or whatever the DWP calls,a few people that I know that are enrolled have begun a sort of passive resistance,machinery/phones are unplugged,inventory is mislaid ,keys go missing and so on,I asked why? The main complaint was the attitude of the company they are assigned to,being indirectly slagged off and performing tasks just to be kept busy and in other cases doing the work of "Real Employees" with no chance of being taken on.It is similar to the way IDS/DWP are trying to create the strivers/scroungers attitude in the press.

    2. It's perfectly understandable but risky - getting 'sacked' from a placement opens the door to sanctions.

    3. Even people in paid employment can be sacked, with no voice now a days.


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