Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Contracts, tweets and volunteers

All the attention at the moment is on the Work Programme; and the government is still saying that it can't give any figures for the cost of ending the Flexible New Deal contracts because they are still negotiating. Obviously the incentive is huge to give the new prime contracts to the firms which are already running FND, rather than having to pay them off.
But meanwhile A4e picks up more small contracts. There's something called Hartlepool Works where they're running a project funded by the European Social Fund and the Learning & Skills Council delivering basic skills. And there's more life skills on offer in Blaenau Gwent with £1.27m from The Big Lottery Fund.
We've had A4e's Roy Newey on Twitter for some time, and Mark Lovell occasionally tweets. Now Emma Harrison has joined in (she's emmachat) with news of "A4e summit. Manchester. Senior people from around the world. All of them passionate about our single vision to improve peoples lives."
CDG, one of the providers seeking to expand, is still going on about getting an army of expert volunteers involved with the Work programme, mentoring the jobless. They held a "summit" which doesn't seem to have been attended by any of the other providers. "It is an effort owned by all those with an interest in helping those who have been unemployed for a long time back into work, with CDG’s initial role being to put the initiative forward, and to give it shape and structure so that it gains momentum," reports the Indus Delta site. As we've pointed out before, it's hard to reconcile the use of volunteers with profit-making private contractors. CDG is a charity, and it's boss may think that it operates differently. But charities are involved in contracts on exactly the same basis as private companies, and they employ people on the same basis. If CDG take this forward they are going to come up against some difficult questions.



  2. Please don't shout! I partly agree with you, but mentors would not be such a bad idea in a different system. Not for everyone, of course, that would indeed be patronising, but some people could benefit from help from experienced people who have no axe to grind, no targets to meet and no profits to make.

  3. Ho Hum: I finish work at 6.00pm. At 6.15 I go on neighbourhood patrol with the last police officer in Brum, at 8.00pm I litter pick the street, at 10.00pm I give my elderly neighbour a bed bath, at midnight I replace the detached youth workers who have just been made redundant. 2.00am Bed

    Up at 5.30am to open up the 'community shop' that has replaced our post office 7.00am back at work.

    I didn't get a chance to eat! So just when am I going to get the time to take part in A4E's facile mentoring scheme? That’s the 'Big Society' for you

  4. On a slightly different point. Does anyone know if a A4e client on placement is covered by the placement organisation's liability insurance?

  5. Yes. The provider goes through a process with the placement employer of ensuring insurance cover, health & safety etc.

  6. Someone on a placement does not have the rights as a paid employee fact. also nor does a "volunteer", but is a placement/volunteer the same thing?

  7. What "rights" are you talking about? Of course someone on a placement has no right to pay but there will be agreed hours and conditions. That should be true whether the placement is with a private employer or a voluntary organisation. I know some people hate the idea of placements on principle, regarding them as exploitative, but they can be worthwhile, leading to real jobs or to experience which is valuable in getting a job. It doesn't always work like that, of course.

  8. why so much unemployment then if placements work,

  9. If someone wants to conduct an argument on this site, can they please adopt a user name rather than "Anonymous" and consider that lack of punctuation is a sign of laziness!
    That said, placements can be a way of giving someone an extended trial at a job. If they're used to supply free labour, that's wrong. And that's all that currently needs to be said on the subject.

  10. Hiya historian
    I've done 6 of these new deals in the past and now they want me to attend a4e 15.11.10 and start another one. I'm a transsexual m2f and employers have to release me for everything to do with my transition. For a start i have electrolysis 3 times a week. I have to grow my facial hair in order to have it tweezed out and my face and genital areas are really sore after this treatment. Am i expected to attent a4e in this condition? I can make an excuse like this for most days. I need to attend psychiatrists, psycotheropists enocronologists, blood tests, nurses, gp, voice training, support groups etc. All of which is out of town and more than half a days travel. I don't want a4e to know anything about my personal or past life but how long is it going to be before they say that i have to attend the new deal or lose benafits and will they release me for all of the above needs. Unison says that employers have to release transgenders and they're not allowed to interfere with our transitiion. Does this apply with the new deal?
    or do i have to be their slave and work for nothing and sit and listen to their brain washing, mind knumbing rubbish again. What exactly do they know about trying to find a TG a job? My CV is from my past gender and i do not want them to even look at it as they may be able to identify me from it. My new female CV has only got one detail on it which is counselling level one. I'm at college doing level two and i need a4e funding to get onto level three. This is the only thing i need them for. I don't even want to talk to them about anything else. they really stress me out. I've just had 3 months on sick to avoid working links. the manageress of jcp told me to take it if it was stressing me out so i did and now three months on they want me to go with a4e. Have you got any advice, Historian?

  11. Two problems here. If you're medically unfit for work you're unfit to be on the programme, and that's down to your doctor.
    The confidentiality problem is rather different. If your Jobcentre adviser is aware of your situation s/he could tell A4e that your history is not to be disclosed. The funding for your training course is dependent on you complying with the rules, and I confess I don't know if there's any way round that.

  12. Hiya historian
    thanks for that.
    No I'm not unfit for work but i do have a lot of appointments concerning my transition which takes priority over this ubflexible new deal and it's going to clash with a4e sooner or later.
    unision says below that i don't have to work as hard as others because of medication (hrt) I'd like to know what that means exactly? and does this mean that i don't have to work as hard with a4e?

    This is from unison
    Medical Treatment During Employment
    Time Required
    Transgender people who decide to undergo medical and surgical procedures relating to gender reassignment may need some time off work. Assessment by a qualified professional may take several months or even years. Appointments may involve travelling long distances, so are likely to take a whole day. Following this, there is typically a period of one or more years before the person is accepted for surgery. Some people may require more than one operation. The time off following this will vary greatly, from one week to around 12 weeks, depending on the nature of the surgery and the physical demands of the person's job.

    Branches should ensure adequate time off is given distinct from other sick leave. Workers undergoing gender reassignment would be entitled to the same sickness absence and pay as other staff but may require additional leave which may have to be specifically negotiated.

    The process of gender reassignment
    Diagnosis of transgender people is carried out by a specialist and may take a matter of months or a period of years. Preliminary diagnosis is usually followed by hormone therapy and typically after around 6 months the person’s physical appearance will begin to change. The person may start to live full time as a member of their 'new' gender before they begin hormone therapy or they may wait until after hormone therapy has started to change their physical appearance. Some people remain in their usual gender role at work for longer. People can continue to work throughout this period.

    When the person starts to live full time as a member of their ‘new’ gender, their name and other records will be formally changed. From this point they should be treated as belonging to their ‘new’ gender for employment purposes. They may go on and have surgery after one or two years of hormone therapy.

    Capability procedures
    Employers may need to be made aware of possible side effects of medication, which may adversely affect work performance. Also, people sometimes need reduced hours or duties for a temporary period when they return to work following surgery. Together with the member, branches should meet the employer to discuss options around a temporary reduction of hours or duties or (if this is what the member wants) relocation. Some employers may try to dismiss workers for lack of capability. Branches must make it clear to the employer that lack of capability as a ground for dismissal is not appropriate in these circumstances.

    Will a4e give me time off and if so how much?
    I hate these work providers becuse when you ask them a trans question? they havent got a clue. All they want is for me to follow their gateway,pathway, follow through. and be a sheep. I've done 6 new deals since 1993 i've had 30 jobs and lost them all because I've had to take the time off to come to terms with the person/gender that i am.

    i have kept all my complaing letters and stories from previous new deals. They're unbelievable but none the less true. what a joke and a waste of public they've been. a script writer for tv would have a feild because the stories are just so funny, you couldn't make it up.
    another thing? i may not be able to complete this new deal as it might clash with my surgey next year. no date yet as the PCT wont give funding until i've comleated 12 months of HRT which will be net July.

    Any would be good




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