Friday, 29 June 2012

More figures - and disagreement

As Channel 4 publishes more of the figures from that leaked report, so there is dispute about how meaningful they are.
The channel's news website details the outcome rates in different regions.  They are miserably low in some areas where the unemployment rate is also low; and better in areas where A4e are sub-contractors, suggesting to the writer that it's A4e's model which is at fault.  The reporter Jackie Long, on her Channel 4 blog, summarises this, and quotes the DWP's response that the interpretation of the stats was "ludicrous".  Long asks if A4e's figures would be better after 12 months instead of 10, and clearly doesn't think so.  
The Telegraph has carried the story, and expands on the DWP's response.  The spokes-person is quoted as saying that is "virtually impossible for any provider to have built up a significant number of job outcome payments by the end of March as most outcomes are only payable after someone has found a job and stayed in it for six months".  Hold on.  The stats revealed by Channel 4 are not about outcome payments.  They show the numbers of starters getting work and then staying in work for 13 weeks or more.  If they haven't been in a job for 13 weeks then they're not going to make it to 6 months.
Even more puzzling is the reaction of the FullFact website, which is normally very rigorous about stats.  They point to the premature judgement made by the Tories when in opposition on Flexible New Deal.  Figures show, they say, that "a significantly higher proportion of participants were finding sustainable work after 14 months than were after 11 months".  Well, if they say so.  We are to understand, then, that A4e's figures could look dramatically better in a few months' time.  


  1. A4e need at least 5 years of tax payers money to show us that they are doing a good job at getting people into work. 10 months worth of profit is not enough. Let the 5 year contract run its course before we look at whether the figures are good or not. Emma needs to pay her bills after all.

  2. I think all but the most blinkered observer can recognise abject failure when they see it.
    As is pointed out above people cannot be in work for 6 months without first being in work for 13 weeks. Follow the logic and see that people can't be in work for 13 weeks without first being in work for 1 week, can't be in work for 1 week without first starting a job!
    It's a pipeline - a very, very leaky pipeline and the number of people at each point in that pipeline should be measured (and I suspect is being measured - we're just not being told the figures).
    Expect the figures to improve a bit, which will no doubt be hailed as evidence that the WP is working by the resident spin doctors at A4e and the DWP. There's a very, very, long way to go before the average deadweight figure of 28% is even on the horizon. No doubt we will be continually told that the WP is not "mature" so the 28% figure is not a valid comparator until years have passed. By which time A4e and their fellow "providers" will have pocketed £billions and inflicted their special brand of misery and frustration on many millions of people.


  3. And further to my earlier comment today about A4E making their customers unemployable by association, I spoke to an acquaintance today who works in HR for a well known organisation/company.

    Apparently they used to have links with A4E but in light of the various negative publicity surrounding A4E this person decided to sever the links with them. The official line at present is that they are still in "contact" with A4E (presumably meaning they will accept people who have been there) but in actuality this is not the case. For obvious reasons I'm not divulging the name of the company involved, as it was an off the record conversation.

    The person also couldn't understand why A4E were still going, at a guess I'd say this isn't an isolated view.

  4. Can a work programme advisor ask to see via a clients email, jobs they have applied for? is this legal? is it also saying i dont beileve your looking for work, i want to see confirmation, hardly trust is it?

    1. Tricky one. Yes, they can ask to see confirmation that you've been applying for jobs. But if you're using a general email address, it should mean printing off only those emails which are relevant, not letting them see all your private correspondence. What most people do is set up a separate email for jobseeking. I agree it says they don't trust you, but that's the way it is.


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