Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Lists, pamphlets and the WP

Another of those lists of important people has been produced by the Big Issue in the North. A panel decided on the 50 most influential people in the region and, sure enough, A4e's Emma Harrison gets in at no. 13 (Sir Alex Ferguson is only 21st). It's a meaningless list of business people, politicians and other worthies, but no doubt those on it (and not on it) will find it important.
But while Harrison gets onto such lists, it's Mark Lovell who seeks to provide the intellectual underpinning for A4e's business. Harrison may be "advising" this government, but he is writing for a Labour party policy pamphlet on his current favourite subject of helping unemployed people to start their own businesses. This is something of a hostage to fortune for the Labour MPs who also contributed to the pamphlet. Recent governments have been happy to align themselves with business leaders to whom they have subsequently given large contracts; but it is a dangerous habit.
The reputation of many firms is staked on the Work Programme. We are not to have any figures until next March, so the evidence is largely anecdotal. We don't even know how many people have started on the WP. At least the Youth Contract fulfils Harrison's wish to get young people onto the programme earlier. But already we hear that several providers are unable to cope properly with the numbers of clients being referred, and that staff are inadequately trained. CVs are being sent out to employers without the knowledge, let alone permission, of the clients, and they are often one-size-fits-all CVs imposed on the clients. Has any actual training started? One area where we really need figures now is the companies taking people on work placements. Are there companies taking free labour on a large scale with no intention of employing people? The DWP should draw up a list of employers, number of placements and number of jobs.

1 comment:

  1. They are discussing unemployment and the schemes introduced on You And Yours Radio 4 right now.


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