But we won't know how successful A4e and the other providers are until next March. That secrecy is understandable up to a point. Even if someone got a job on the very first day of the Work Programme they won't yet have been in the job for 6 months. And the DWP is going to use the figures to compare the providers in a region and reduce the number of clients to an obviously failing provider, so a running commentary on the figures wouldn't be helpful. But it means that we have no idea whether the hype matches the reality. And lack of transparency is one of the themes of an article on the Morning Star website by Solomon Hughes. In the name of "opening up public services", he says, Cameron is handing over the funding of public services to private investors. Hughes describes how A4e has been hired to design the contracts for schemes funded by social impact bonds, something we highlighted recently. While this hasn't been a secret, it's not something that the average person would think sensible. The article is well worth reading.
Monday, 31 October 2011
Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, blogs that he is encouraged by his "discussion with a local representative from A4E here in Blackpool, who are running the Government’s Work Programme scheme here in the North West. Whilst I often here (sic) that there are no jobs out there, it was refreshing to hear a slightly more positive point of view. No-one pretends that we are in the midst of economic boom, but the patient accumulation of business contacts is ensuring that A4E is becoming a one-stop shop for many employers with vacancies to fill." He goes as far as telling people looking for work who are not on the Work Programme that they should give A4e a call. Well, let's hope he's right.