Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Mark Lovell, Chris Grayling

You may have heard of the Fabian Society. It dates back to 1884 and has always been about advancing democratic socialism. So what's that got to do with A4e? No idea, but they've sponsored an event for the Young Fabians on "Thinkers and Doers", along with Chukka Umunna, the Labour MP. Mark Lovell, who was there, has also been writing on finding work and on his current hobby-horse, banking for the poor. What he says is sensible, but we know that the sub-text is his desire for an A4e bank.

There's been a drip-drip of publicity about the Work Programme in general. Chris Grayling had to answer questions in Parliament on Monday and conformed that, "The Department expects to release statistics on referrals to the Work programme from spring 2012, and on job outcomes lasting three or six months from autumn 2012." So we won't get to know anything about outcomes for more than a year. Meanwhile, some news about another of the providers, Avanta. The Northern Echo carries a story about an induction day with the company on Teesside. The complainant is a graduate and distinctly unimpressed. Her story will be familiar to jobseekers who've had dealings with other providers. The Work Programme is being touted as individually designed provision, but this kind of one-size-fits-all induction is a way of swiftly refuting that.


  1. The N. Echo piece is particularly telling. One of the things that gets peoples collective backs up is the corporate / newspeak used by politicians and many businesses.

    Rather than simply address the concerns raised by Ms Finnegan, one simply gets a no-doubt pre-prepared standardised statement.

    ““We always value feedback and we’re looking into the points Ms Finnegan raised.”

    Does the above statement mean that complaints will be looked at or will it merely be lip service?

    Is it any wonder that many have little faith in such programs? Such lack of faith is compounded by some (and by no means all) job centre advisors who are merely pen pushers and do little ‘advising’ whatsoever. It would seem single employment program they laud as the next great thing and each one in turn seems to end in failure! New Deal, Flexible New Deal and now the Work Program.....

  2. lol the work programme "individually designed" dont mkemellaugh i know people on it now, many have had appointments cancelled or just been rushed through in 5 mins, its a joke.

  3. I've been given the line "We welcome feedback" many times by training providers that I never take it seriously. They say the right things but the reality is that the people at the top decide the practices and if anyone complains then the management have to back up their staff. You end up called into an office to give your account and eventually receive a letter declaring that the member of staff did nothing wrong and has the confidence of the management.
    Most people who are forced onto these courses keep their heads down, go along with whatever the staff say just for a quiet life. It's sad when decent unemployed people have to behave like scared rabbits rather than give their honest opinion.

  4. Lions led by donkeys, springs to mind the first being people forced on the work programme.

  5. As a Voluntary Sector delivery partner of Work programme I can assure you that our provision is indeed individualised and solely focussed on improving outcomes for referred parties. Our initial assessment is 1-1 and lasts approximately 1 hour. We do offer inductions to small groups but again, these are buttressed with extensive one-to one breakouts. There seem to be many peope who wish this programme to fail before it even walks. It's very easy to poke holes in services rather than formulate better ideas or constructively suggest improvements. Typical.

  6. Typical of what? What you're describing is clearly the right way to go about it, but it hasn't been the norm for the main contractors who are receiving large numbers of clients at a time.
    We would love this programme to succeed if it means helping masses of people into decent jobs. But we believe that this is the wrong way to go about it, for a number of reasons. You'll find constructive suggestions on this site.


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