Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Nothing works

Remember the Work Programme?  Of course you do.  But, like so much of what this government has done, the WP has been forgotten by most of the media; and its successor, "Help to Work", is just being ignored.

But the businesses contracted to deliver the WP have to plough on until 2016.  And A4e has resumed its practice of inviting MPs into their local offices to admire what they're doing.  Rob Wilson, Tory MP for Reading East, said, “I was very pleased to hear that A4e has seen a reduction in client numbers because of the success of the Work Programme getting people back into work and off benefits.  Clients are supported by A4e staff after starting work to help ensure they are able to manage in their job.  This extra support is essential to keep people in the new job.”  John Bercow, Tory MP for Buckingham (and Speaker of the Commons) was equally impressed by A4e's work in Milton Keynes.  Another cheer-leader is Dan Finn, Professor of Social Inclusion at Portsmouth University.  He's written a piece on Serco's own website asking, "Is it working?" and concluding that it is, with a few caveats.  And yet ....  Huge amounts of money have been spent on this, with very low targets which are not being met.  It was meant to solve unemployment and certainly hasn't.

So IDS came up with "Help to Work".  It was supposed, after a delay, to start yesterday, but there's another delay.  Could that be because of the difficulties in finding placements for all those sentenced to workfare?  There's a good piece on the Ekklesia website, and another on ThirdSector's site.  A growing number of voluntary organisations and local councils have signed up to a boycott of the scheme.  If they can't find placements with charities and councils the firms with the contracts will have to offer this free labour to private companies.  But, ostrich-like, "A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: 'Referrals to the placements have begun and the placements will begin shortly. There has been no delay.  Charities are under no obligation to be in the scheme, but those who are recognise the benefits of it.'"

Despite the fact that everything he has touched has turned to dross, Iain Duncan Smith believes it's all wonderful.  If you can stomach it, read his speech on welfare reform in Berlin.  And if we needed confirmation that IDS has a headlock on the BBC, it comes in the Express.  Talking about the Tories' promise of an EU referendum, "Iain Duncan Smith lashed out at the BBC for failing to give enough prominence to Mr Cameron’s promise of an in-out vote in 2017.  The Work and Pensions Secretary said 'most people' do not even know about the pledge.  A BBC spokeswoman said: 'We are satisfied that we have covered the EU referendum promise.'"


10 comments:

  1. Yes people are moving off the A4e work programme... straight onto ESA, due to the huge stress this terrible sytem creates. I guess A4e still got paid for doing nothing for me and finding me zero jobs to apply for when I moved onto another benefit. Well at least the unemployment figures will be down, due to me moving to just another benefit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't see things changing as I heard a comment regarding "...rewarding hard working people" from... Ed Milliband.

      Delete
    2. The huge stress this terrible system creates: who are you kidding! Try helping a person find the right job, hours, location help them with the application and help them prepare for the interview and then they fail it on purpose! You will find A4e do absolutely everything they can to help people but some people just want to live on benefits for the rest of their lives regard less of the lies they spin to their advisor!

      Delete
    3. A4e receives an attachment fee for a new referral onto the wp and then only receives payments once a customer enters work and sustains employment for at least 6 months so if you never worked but completed numerous services with A4e the likelihood is A4e were at a sizeable financial loss for your time on the wp but go ahead and moan and spin nonsensical opinions on a subject you clearly don't understand!

      Delete
    4. You lost us when you ended your comment in that way. Benefits claimants rarely understand the complexities of the system, but they do know that it isn't working for them.
      You may well have encountered people who have no intention of working. There are always some. But in my experience they're a small minority.

      Delete
    5. Two years on an A4e work programme and only one job given to me to apply for through A4e.
      Each time I attended, the A4e staff just checked my activity list, which I had prepared for the Jobcentre staff and inputted the information onto their system (Taking the credit for my hardwork) ... so what was the point of A4e.

      Delete
  2. I am performing MWA,it has been eye opening! It has been at a very small charity shop,dealing with A4E has been a predictable pattern,at first they promised all sort of support with travel,job search and providing a personal reference from the A4E rep upon completion,after the induction (and they got paid) trying to get reimbursed for travel is a Weekly quest,always problems with staff or computers,anything else? Contact the JCP+,who respond "Contact your MWA Provider"

    Another thing that occurs is different Providers other than MWA are placing people with this small shop(about the size of a kitchen/diner) 16 placements overseen by 2 staff,not much too do.but constant threats of "you need to find something to do" or face being returned to the JCP+ to face sanctions,I would describe this relationship as a P***/Pr******** It is more like a boiler room operation,and again this accomplishes what?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sick of the Work Programme4 June 2014 11:07

      It sounds as if having that number of workers in such a small space may actually be in breach of the regulations on space at work:

      http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/faqs/roomspace.htm

      If you think the shop is in breach of this, then it would be reportable to your local Environmental Health department.

      Delete
  3. Historian, what do you think to IDS' attack on The Big Issue reported on today?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. Big Issue sellers are classed as self-employed despite having to claim tax credits, as I understand it, but that makes them like so many other supposedly self-employed people. But he's saying that immigrants can immediately start selling the magazine and claim the tax credits, thwarting the attempts to ensure that immigrants can't claim benefits straight away. IDS always lashes out at anybody who throws a spanner into his plans.

      Delete

Keep it clean, please. No abusive comments will be approved, so don't indulge in insults. If you wish to contact me, post a comment beginning with "not for publication".