Sunday, 9 January 2011


In the privatisation of public services there are often periods like this, when some new contracts have yet to be given out and others are under threat. No new contracts are forthcoming from the majority of local authorities yet. They are desperately trying to cut chunks out of all their services. But the situation could well yield profits for A4e and the others, because it will seem cheaper to contract out than to pay your own staff. We know that this doesn't work in the long run, either for the employees or the public. But it does secure profits for the private companies for a fixed period, and when you're faced with impossible budget decisions that can seem like a good deal.

Most of the prime providers are advertising for "partners" in the Work Programme, as the government wants. A4e doesn't seem to be doing this, probably preferring to keep the dealings to themselves. Some of the voluntary sector organisations are agonising about whether they should engage with it at all. The real deals are being done with the banks which will finance the companies, and the question is whether the £400 - £600 "attachment fee" for each client will be enough to get them on board. Among many interesting aspects of the contracts will be how many of the existing FND providers get the new contracts in the areas in which they've been operating. My guess is all of them, because to do anything else would cost a lot of money in compensation.

CDG are still pushing the "Expert Volunteer Initiative", the plan to recruit an army of volunteer mentors for the unemployed. They have appointed as Chair of a working group Dr Mike Nussbaum, former chair of Volunteering England. They say that the initiative is designed "to complement the work currently carried out by welfare to work providers" but don't explain how this can sit alongside the payment of large sums of money to private companies.

Publicity for Emma Harrison seems confined to the Sheffield press at the moment. The Star says: "Unstoppable Emma Harrison is riding high with her ever-expanding welfare-to-work business A4e. But it's not all been brilliant news recently. She talks about the highs and lows of life at the top in tomorrow's Business Monthly." Has anyone seen this article?


  1. just to clarify that A4e are looking for work programme partners-both end to end providers and specialist provision
    They have chosen their supply chain and are informing their partners this week

  2. Re: Business Monthly - It is available online
    The "news" is just a rehash of the laptop theft & fine, a bit about THAT press release from her PR wing. Along with waffle about nothing, just trying to put spin on old (bad) news.

  3. If the work programme comes to the uk, then let the fun begin my freind is a lawyer who would take on my case should i be forced to take part in it under the threat of benifit cuts, ive had the miss fortune to be without work for 1 year 8 months now, and feel people should not be given community sentences for being without work, because a sentence it is, this will not help the unemployed in any way, but will in fact hinder them.

  4. Read the report on the Australian experience:
    There is nothing new in this, as has been said many times. If you've been out of work for 20 months you presumably have been on New Deal or FND. Refusing to take part in that, including any work placements, can result in loss of benefits.


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