Friday, 3 February 2012

Work Programme - item on PM

The PM programme on Radio 4 tonight included an item on the Work Programme which managed to pack most of the issues into a few minutes.  The headline is that the ERSA (the trade body for welfare-to-work companies) has been allowed by the DWP to publish some rough and ready figures about how the WP is doing.  Among the first batch on the scheme, who started 6 months ago, 20% have found work.  But that figure disguises the fact that in two areas of the country, the South West and part of Scotland, the proportion is actually only 10%.  And in Liverpool A4e has managed only 10%.  No one mentioned the "dead weight" figure, the number which would be expected to get work without any intervention - but it's more than 10%.  One man interviewed (one of our correspondents, I believe) said that he had been on the New Deal programme, Flexible New Deal and now the Work Programme, all with A4e.  He felt he had received no help, and had had only one interview, which he got by his own efforts.
Barnsley Council is a WP contractor, and their spokesman was less reticent than other providers to talk about the problems.  There are simply not enough jobs.  Employers will not take the long-term unemployed, preferring immigrant workers if they can't get recently employed British workers.  Providers, he said, are picking the low-hanging fruit i.e. concentrating on those with the most recent work record.  
A voluntary organisation which has a proven track record in getting the hardest to help, like ex-offenders, into jobs said they were being asked by prime contractors to deliver programmes for them - for no payment.
Chris Grayling was briefly interviewed, and reminded me of someone who sticks his fingers in his ears and says, "La la la, can't hear you!".  It's in line with expectations, he said.  It's on track.  No, that's not over-optimistic.  You're just misusing figures.  The NAO report was wrong.  There will be no changes.


  1. Do the figures for those finding work include people forced into workfare?

  2. This is the Written version of the story from the BBC.

    And yes it was me there was more i said but they had to cut it down. With luck people will listen and understand.

  3. This bit...'Employers will not take the long-term unemployed, preferring immigrant workers if they can't get recently employed British workers. '.

    Is there anyone besides me who finds this discrimination/prejudice of employers sickening?

  4. "Chris Grayling was briefly interviewed, and reminded me of someone who sticks his fingers in his ears and says, "La la la, can't hear you!". It's in line with expectations, he said. It's on track. No, that's not over-optimistic. You're just misusing figures. The NAO report was wrong. There will be no changes."

    Grayling is showing himself week by week to be an arrogant, out of touch and conceited individual. Remember the Radio 5 Live summary I posted here nearly two weeks ago? Even though 90% of those phoning in, emailing and texting thought the WP left a lot to be desired, Grayling (who had the sense to take on Stephen Timms rather than callers directly) just dismissed their concerns. He simply claimed that those complaining about the WP were not at work gained via the WP so were available to complain about said program.

    This is similar to what Historian has posted above. It is no good simply trying to pick out the good bits of something like the WP. One has to look at the more negative experiences too.

    Grayling is indeed sticking his fingers in his ears and not listening. Worse than this, he is actually dismissing and insulting the many people on the WP who are PERSONALLY experiencing the inadequacies of the program. Despite people saying on R5L that they had not been seen for weeks and even up to three months or more, Grayling again insulted people by stating that he'd been around the country to see the WP for himself and refused to accept that people had not been seen for up to three months. So all these people are simply lying then?

    Long time readers of this blog may well recallr my on air run in with a certain Tony McNulty (Former Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform) a couple of years ago, again on a R5L phone in. Upon recounting mire dire experiences with A4e on the then New Deal earlier, his response was something like, "I'm sorry the caller had this experience, but I travel across the country and this is not what i encounter" Sound familiar?

    If I or anyone else had a bad experience at a local supermarket or restaurant for example, we could take our custom elsewhere. We'd probably get an apology and maybe even a refund, vouchers or credit note against our next purchase. Why? To make sure this establishment did not lose us as a customer and no doubt to stop us telling every man, woman and their dog about the bad service we received.

    Alas with the WP, as with its predecessors, a govt minister no less can not only fail to take any notice of your concerns, he can also dismiss them with gay abandon and make it look like YOU'RE in the wrong!

  5. someone like Emma Harrison as Cameron's Family Tsar should not be in that position ....definite conflict of interests there

  6. While on a "green day job search" at best in leeds we were told "you are required to travel 90 mins each way to look for work, what on minimum wage too? that would cost around £20 a week if not more in travel expenses, still outcomes for providers are more important than a person working for next to nothing.

  7. On the work programme are you a green, amber, or a red!?

  8. Anon at 4.05. Interesting question. I'm yellow


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