Wednesday, 13 July 2011

More contract opportunities

There's not a lot happening at the moment, at least publicly. A4e continues to scatter PR material around the internet, inclusing success stories. But, as usual, they don't bother to have these pieces proof-read, leading to amateurish efforts like this one. A piece about a youth summit in the North West had a new description of the boss of A4e - "BBC 1’s Emma Harrison".

Lost in all the furore about News International was the announcement by David Cameron of the privatisation of public services. The full paper is here. The Public Finance website has a report of his speech, and it's clear that the Work programme is being treated as the model for all the flogging-off of services. It's to be payment by results all the way. The latest announcement, which no doubt will interest A4e, is that key probation services are to be put out to tender (see the piece in the Guardian). Working Links has already said that it will be bidding. Mark Lovell was in talks with the Ministry of Justice yesterday.


  1. "Stephen came in to A4e and met with Stef Sidoli who became his Personal Career Coach.

    Stef gathered all the information as normal including what Stephen would like to do. Stef discovered there was a passion for Music and Computer Games. This was discussed in more detail and it was agreed that this interest within a retail environment was the way to go."

    This is taken from the A4e PR link above. Stephen's experience of getting a job via A4e does not match my or many others who are former A4e customers.

    Good luck to Stephen and congrats to him for getting the job. However, simply looking at the testamonies from former and current A4e customers, they, (A4e) and other similar outfits fail to offer such a tailored, personalised service to the majority of thier customers. it all seems to be a lowest common denominator, bargain basement, one size fits all approach.

    As far as the probation service being privatised, this is not surprising to me as I have heard this was happening a few years ago. That said, a one eyed monkey can see such privatisations a mile off! Just as with W2W, the questions have to be, firstly, how will a company such as Working Links make a profit? Secondly, how will this be beneficial for the taxpayer?

    Can the answers to both these questions be mutally beneficial to the country? Sadly one has to expect a certain amount of penny pinching and worsening standards. Some things work well in the private sector. Others should remain govt resposibilty.

  2. The issues here is how long will big financial institutions be willing or able to bank roll public services, particularly when the client groups are so risky and the payments are so attenuated. The Work Programme is only a couple of weeks, yet its model is being sold as a panacea for reducing costs of public services. Most of the primes I meet think this is laughable.
    DWP have recently put out to tender an ESF funded family support programme, this gave on programme payments I think of 70% and output payments of 30%. A prime I was talking to yesterday had seen this as an ideal programme to engage the skills of voluntary and community sector organisations that need significant upfront payments to cover their infrastructure costs.
    Now the scoring criteria has been changed so that only those organisation who will sign up for a Work Programme funding model will have any chance of gaining a contract, so again the voluntary and community sector loose out.
    The government’s weasel words about mutuals and the voluntary and community sector is just a cover for wholesale privatisation and the demolition of public services.


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