Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Telling it like it is

An excellent article was published in the Guardian yesterday.  They went to Hull, where the unemployment rate is among the worst in the country, and looked at how the Work Programme is actually operating.  This is not propaganda, but reality.  The contract is held by G4S, but is sub-contracted here to Pertemps.  "Officially," says the article, "the barrier is never simply that there are 58 jobseekers for every job available in the city (and in any case, staff point out cheerfully that the latest figure for Hull has dropped to just 22.6). The barriers they diagnose could be difficulties with basic literacy and numeracy, it could be drug or alcohol problems, it may be lack of transport, self-esteem, experience, skills or training. All of these things are problems to which Pertemps has solutions. The subtext is that external economic factors can never be the cause of someone's unemployment: the problem must somehow lie with the individual."  We know that that's a major complaint of people on the WP - that their unemployment must be their fault - and it's feeding the perceptions of government and the wider public.  Pertemps is apparently not meeting its target in Hull but the Guardian is not allowed by the DWP to publish the figures.

It would do ministers good to read about the people described here.  

Meanwhile, the voluntary sector is still complaining.  They are finding that their volunteers are being taken away to go on the WP.  


  1. Sadly no comments section enabled for that article. So I couldn't exclaim about Mary who agreed to go on 3 months unpaid work at a care home. I think it's scandalous that pertemps (who are a recruitment agency ffs, what do they know about social care?) are compelling her to do that with the 'almost promise' of a job at the end.
    No chance of that.

  2. I thought you only had to attend the provider's office once a fortnight if you were on WP? In which case, it would not have much affect on the voluntary sector.

    Also you could change your WP appointment days if they clashed with your voluntary work days. Or am I missing something?

  3. And as we all know... Come on you know the words..

    "There are lots of jobs out there."

    when just looking today i havent seen as few jobs advertised mid week, than i have ever seen. Where i live usually 5 or 6.. its down to two or three. Of course this must be My fault as once again Join in when you know the words.

    "There are lots of jobs out there."

  4. I havent been to my provider for 3 weeks, Been told theres too many people being sent there. But it could be once a week, once every two weeks, once a month..There is no consistancy. You have to fit in with the provider not your voluntary work. Next month i could be there every week, or once every 2 months.

  5. I am a training provider who does not get involved with the Work Program or any of the Governments funded programs. I deliver training to Government and the Private Sector.

    I find this article totally depressing and my heart goes out to those who are unemployed in this environment and lack basic skills, literacy and confidence.

    I come across A4E, G4S and similar organisations and what I notice is that their staff may be full of good intentions but are to training what a fish is to a bycicle. I always remember a scene in League of Gentlemen where Pauline is running a Job search workshop and her comment when someone gets up to go to an interview 'sit back down youv'e no chance' and Im in charege because I've got the pens, Puline seems to epitomise staff delivering work program contracts.

    But the simple answer is maths, 2.5 million people unemployed will not go into 6,000 job vacancies, Work Program providers will not go out of business but many in their supply chain will as will many charities.

    As you have pointed out in many previous articles look at the profits of A4E, G4S, Reed Partnership and others, they dont seem to be suffering too much.

    You should not have a comment without a solution so here is mine: Firstly make Government departments take on some of the unemployed in paid (minimum wage will do) and training posts especially the 16 to 19 year olds.
    Bring in legislation to ensure that major employers the likes of ASDA, MORRISONS, ORANGE, BT,BRITISH GAS, etc etc have to provide a number of training posts for the 16 to 18 year olds.
    Stop schools from having to focus only on league tables for GCSE results make them accountable for literacy levels, its appaling that a 16 year old can leave school without basic skills.

    I am ashamed of what society is doing to our youth and feel helpless as to what I can do......

  6. My A4E advisor allows me to attend structured job search etc on days which don't clash with my voluntary work because I pointed out to them that the voluntary people will be writing my reference saying that I turn up on time etc etc. I've also been told by the voluntary people that if I am required to do full time unpaid work, they can find me stuff so it'd just be a question of getting A4E (or the Job Centre?) to agree to it being that organisation as opposed to something like Poundstretchers.

    I am looking into starting up my own gardening business. This will cause interesting problems for A4E because I have to remain doing the voluntary work as long as possible (for the reason given above), so gardening clients will for the moment be fitted in on the remaining days of the week until I can go full time. That leaves them half a day every fortnight in which they can reasonably see me just before I go to the job centre to sign on until I am fully self-employed and not just working part time.

  7. A4e's CEO in Australia may have resigned. You may want to look at how this outsourcing model is working in other places, as it never gets enough attention:

  8. there may be something on BBC radio 4 tomorrow on the PM programme. 5 or 6 pm, about the work program. I was just interviewed by them, and so has others. We shall see what they say.

    One of his questions was, the government may say its only new so they will have to settle down, my reply was If they havent got it right after 3, 4, or 5 years, what chance will they do it this time. Because its the same scheme, same people, same situation and nothings changed.


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