Tuesday, 9 November 2010

More thoughts on The Politics Show

You can see the piece on A4e Brixton on the BBC news website. It's headlined "How firms like A4e help unemployed people back to work".
What disturbs me about The Daily Politics today is how little challenge there is to what is said. Andrew Neil didn't know that people are not referred to A4e etc. until they've been unemployed for a year, so when he asked what A4e could provide that the state couldn't, Harrison was free to talk about wanting to get to people earlier. It was the perfect opportunity to bring up the fact of the failure of the Pathways programme, the rare example of when a direct comparison is possible between the private companies and the Jobcentres. But he didn't. There was no challenge about the record of A4e (and the other providers) on New Deal. And her assertion that anyone who "fully engages" with them can get one of those "hidden jobs" should have been pounced on, but it wasn't. They were too anxious to get to the ructions in the Labour Party. But they wouldn't have challenged it anyway, because the media are too lazy. They had one tiny idea - that A4e is set to make money from the Work Programme - and didn't do any research.


  1. Emmas top job tips! remind me of a comic called viz, it had a page that took the mick out of naff tips in womans mags!

  2. Couldn't agree more about how lightly she was treated.

    Would also be nice to have some research looking into whether these schemes are costing jobs.

    I'm due to shortly start a 4 week placement as part of FND. I was offered a position at a budget retail chain with the possibility of a job at the end of it (honest).
    It's really annoying that in the run up to Xmas, and in a situation where there is work to be done and the job and the wages could/should have been offered to someone, that they would rather use the free labor of the unemployed.

  3. All well and good handing over the unemployed to the likes of A4e. But where is the accountability when things go wrong ?

    Any complaints made to the JCP/DWP get passed to the provider using the excuse that "We have handed responsibility over to [insert name]". Complain to your MP, and it goes through the hands of JCP/DWP to the provider with the same end result.

    These programmes need an independent body to monitor the providers and are able to hold them to account (with financial penalties) when things go wrong or they fail to deliver.

  4. Andrew Neil was in Jermeny Paxman mode in one Daily Politics show last week when he inteviewed a murderer who was campaigning for prisoners to have the right to vote.

    Clearly the topic of unemployment does not sxcite him enough to ask probing and inciteful questions that many viewers would wanted to have asked Emma Harrison.

    Perhaps her next TV appearance will be on The Emma Harrison Show.

  5. The law says the minimum a person can live on a week is jobseekers allowance. so how can this money be stopped for any reason?

  6. The law is what Parliament says it is. JSA (formerly unemployment benefit or income support) is conditional on being available for, and actively seeking, work, and can be withdrawn if you don't fulfil those conditions. You'd need to be prepared to challenge it in court (but uou wouldn't get legal aid to do it).

  7. How would one find out about any ammendments made to the FND contract recently?

    I think the providers bend (being polite there!) the truth a little to suit their agenda.

    Be rather interesting if you were sanctioned for not complying with something that was in fact based on a lie. Oops, I meant a mistake!

    But the unemployed individual has little recourse other than a decision maker. And they do not appear to give an explanation of how they arrived at their decision if one is sanctioned.
    Or do they? Can such be requested?

    What makes me laugh (a little!) is a genuine claimant who is sanctioned will still be available for and seeking work. Therefore fulfilling the requirements to receive JSA.

    Regarding that show. Did you catch the bit where Andrew Neil said to her, talking about the outcome payments, something along the lines of "What happens if they are out (of the work attained) on week 27. Do you give the money back?".
    She appeared not to like the question and waved it off.
    And being pressed for time on such a show she got away with that one.


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