Only two papers have so far taken up the story of the figures revealed by Channel 4 News last night. The Daily Mail has a ball with it, of course, but basically just repeats Channel 4's press release. The Guardian is more restrained but adds nothing. So does anyone care?
One point made by Channel 4 was that, in Newham at least, A4e does less well at getting people into work than the local council's own scheme. I believe that this is true around the country. Local authorities are funding their own programmes, out of very stretched budgets, often focussing on young unemployed people. Why are they more successful than the private companies? I suggest that it's because they are willing to fund the training and qualifications that are essential. In a place like Newham, with the Olympic sites, there would have been jobs in construction and security. For both of those industries you need the qualification. Is A4e funding these? It would be very interesting to compare local council schemes' success rates with those of companies like A4e all over the country.
The DWP's stated minimum sustained jobs rate, if providers are not to lose their contracts, is 5.5%. This is pathetically low anyway, and if A4e can't even make that they obviously deserve to lose their contracts. But Channel 4 suggested last night that if all the providers were in the same boat, perhaps the answer was to give them more money up front. It isn't. The answer is to admit defeat, end the contracts and give the money to local councils, which can work with the Jobcentres.