Sunday, 30 August 2009

The Rumour Mill

If you missed the first episode of Benefit Busters you can watch it via Channel 4's website. If you missed the second episode - tough. It was, apparently, briefly available but has now been withdrawn. This has, of course, fuelled suspicions in some quarters that A4e has insisted on it being pulled. Or was it the DWP? Or possibly someone who was filmed for the programme and who now objects to how he / she was portrayed? Channel 4 are not saying. And the Daily Express is not allowing comments on the brief piece about the programme on is website.

The rumour mill keeps grinding away on the idea that the FND contracts could be cancelled, or at least that one prime contractor could find itself without a contract. It seems that the contracts have not yet been signed, perhaps because negotiations are still going on. But the contracts have been awarded. And a crucial part of FND is that clients have a choice of providers. This means that in all areas contractors and subcontractors have been spending money on setting up facilities and staff. In Hull, for instance, Working Links have had to rent space for the first time. If the contracts were pulled at this stage, would they not be entitled to compensation for this expenditure? Perhaps that's another reason for the Conservatives' reluctance to spell out what they would do. This element of choice in FND also raises the question of what happens when clients all insist on avoiding a particular provider. Benefit Busters has stirred up a hornets' nest, and the DWP should get its act together and respond.


  1. Choice is something that has long been denied to jobseekers forced to attend the New Deal run by one provider.
    And to refer to the jobseekers as customers/clients was laughable. Inmate, would be a better description.
    As for clients choosing to avoid one particlular provider: GOOD, is what I say. Isn't that how the free market is supposed to work!

  2. Theres a very easy way to get out of 'new deal' and never get sent back.

    Get dismissed for gross misconduct i.e. kick off on the staff, threaten and insult the bastards until they phone the police and escort you off the premises.

    You'll get a police caution and lose benefit for the rest of the 13 weeks, but providing you were aggressive enough A4e will blacklist you and will never have you back...

    Trust me, it works a treat, you just have to find a bit of cash-in-hand work for the 13 weeks until you can sign back on!

    My JC+ is absolutely flummoxed now A4e wont have me...


  3. I've allowed the above comment from Davey though I certainly don't approve of its content. I have to say that in my experience the few people who get dismissed for "gross misconduct" have severe and intractable problems and need the sort of help no provider is equipped to give.

  4. I don't think you should allow Davey's comment actually. Regardless of the polotics of the company etc - the people (many of whom are perfectly decent - as has been noted on thsi and other sites) that work for them deserve to be treated with respect - they do have an impossibe job after all. Kicking Off, Threatening and Insulting people is not acceptable in any circumstances.

  5. I agree with your sentiments, Anon. I allowed it as an illustration of what all providers can be up against, to balance the criticism of the companies and the system.

  6. Maybe - I guess my feelings on this are very strong.

    I have had poor experiences with A4e but I have to say that the A4e staff I encountered were, in the majority at least, very pleasant and compassionate people.

    I have witnessed these people being treated horrendously -in the manner described by Davey. It was profoundly upsetting for everyone in the building and as for the poor staff members on the receiving end.....

    I understand your point about allowing this post to illustrate the other side of the coin but the fact is Davey's post is suggesting using violence or the threat of violence against people who happen to work for an organization you don't agree with. The sad thing is that his 'advice' is probably accurate and if one single person follows it after reading it on this site...

    Obviously this site is for people to look at and discuss the practices of A4e - but surely the distinction between the monstrous corporation and the people employed by them must be kept crystal clear.

    Again, I truly feel that this post should not be allowed.

  7. Just to say that I have rejected a couple of follow-up comments by Davey. Having worked in the sector and experienced the Daveys of this world, I'm certain that nobody would follow his "advice" - you're either that sort of person or you're not. I'm very clear about making a distinction between a company and the people it employs.

  8. Hi, I'm an A4e employee in the South. I keep abreast of stuff on this site as it is good feedback - the kind we rarely get to hear and as such it is invaluable. I've often read comments from this site at team meetings and discussed how our office can be different, I honestly think we are at that!

    No more - I could not agree more with anonymous's comments. I work in the 'firing line' and have seen all manner of dreadful things inflicted on me or my work mates. Let me stress - I'm no A4e lackey, I do this job because I give a sh*t about the people that others cannot help.

    I gripe about A4e more than anyone and as I say, I've pointed this site out repeatedly to th epeople I work with in order that we can see where we have gone wrong.

    The post you have allowed is totally unsuitable for this forum. I will not use this site whilst it remains and will tell anyone who will listne that this site has ceased to be balanced whilst it is on there.

    you say you have been on the receiving end - I doubt it, or you would know the horrific abuse we, as A4e employees are sometimes subjected to. It may seem strange to you but I really care about people and try bloody hard to help thenm, I probably hat Emma Harrison more than anyone, I do this job because A4e can help people sometimes.90% of the people I work with are the saem.

    Leaving this message on your site insults all of us and could well isolate your site from the very people that need to see it. A4e employees.

    A thought - Do vegatarian sites encourage people to attack McDonalds staff?

  9. All I can say is that I think you're mistaken. Davey's comment illustrated the point you make about the abuse that staff are sometimes subjected to, and I dissociated myself from it; and it's because I do have personal experience that I know that a) it's representative of a very small minority of clients and b) those clients cannot be helped by anyone. If you think it's unbalanced publish his rant, then I have to disagree. I'm glad that you've found helpful material on this site. You should see the stuff I reject!


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".