Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Pathways doesn't pay

You'll remember that the third episode of Benefit Busters focussed on the Pathways programme, getting people off incapacity and disability benefits and, hopefully, into work. The prime contractor shown was the Shaw Trust, but other providers like A4e also have the Pathways to Work and New Deal for Disabled People contracts, and they subcontract them to some specialist organisations. Now we learn that several of these specialists, including the RNIB, the RNID and Action for Blind People, have withdrawn from these contracts because they say they are not financially viable. They blame the recession and the complex needs of their clients for their inability to make them pay. So presumably A4e isn't making them pay either. Jim Knight MP, who always has to answer in these circumstances (where is Yvette?), said it was up to the prime contractors to manage things. "Providers may have underestimated challenges and set high targets but we are working to improve performance," he said. "Many of the contracts run for three years and, due to start-up costs, providers would not be expected to make a profit immediately." That's all right then.

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