Tuesday, 28 August 2012


Some people think that outsourcing has taken a bit of a knock lately.  The G4S fiasco showed how risky it can be, and the bad publicity surrounding A4e has done the whole business no good.  But none of it has slowed the pace of outsourcing, and ideologues of the right want to see everything hived off to the private sector.  Some local councils have already done this, knowing that they have no fall-back position if it goes wrong because they have sacked all their council employees.  The same handful of companies are scooping up all the work and the profits.  All that the government's much-vaunted Payment By Results has brought about is the even deeper involvement of the huge financial companies such as Deloitte and the shoving aside of the smaller organisations.  Big money rules.  And why would politicians want to change that?  

Working Links is having a bad time (see Private Eye) and warning staff that because they are not delivering the expected results for the Work Programme they could be in serious financial trouble.  One curious aspect of this is that the boss, Brian Bell, said that, "In some locations we are struggling to fill the vacancies we are finding."  Does that mean that employers won't consider people who are on the WP, i.e. have been out of work for a long time?  A4e's Andrew Dutton warned of that some time ago.  And the leaked document showing A4e's outcomes confirmed how bad the situation was.  But the official figures contradict that.  If the companies do fail, as the Eye points out, there is no fall-back position because there is no public sector involvement in the WP, so we could be looking at a bail-out for those companies.  That could include A4e.  But I suspect that some face-saving formula will be found to obscure the truth.  Anyway, A4e doesn't depend entirely on the WP.  

We're waiting for something to happen on the Slough A4e arrests.  The last we heard was back in May, when an eighth person was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud.  I know the legal system can grind slowly, but it's time we knew whether the case is going to trial.  


  1. Well 3 more days until the promised updated results of the WP outcome are supposed to be published,while trying to remain positive and opened minded,I have checked out various WP sites and also Training Providers associated with them(in some cases owned by them)under training the same old rhetoric"we offer training in order to enable the customer back to work"while no defined training programme is listed.On several occasions I have contacted them directly,but regardless how I have asked no straight answer,how are the unemployed suppose to gain new skills if either they are not really available or shrouded in mystery as to what is available?

  2. "...ideologues of the right want to see everything hived off to the private sector. Some local councils have already done this, knowing that they have no fall-back position if it goes wrong because they have sacked all their council employees."

    Why are we surprised at this when we have the likes of Eric Pickles in government?

    Pickles was leader of the Tory group on Bradford City Council from 1988 - 90. He had a 5 yr plan to cut £50m from the council's budget and privatise council services. Sound familiar? Yep, very similar to what the current shower of a government is doing, albeit on a much grander scale. Little wonder that Maggie congratulated Pickles personally and held Bradford up as an example of how Tory councils provided greater cost savings to the ratepayer than their Labour or Liberal counterparts. That and the fact that Bradford was the only inner-city council to be Tory controlled at the time.

    The likes of G4s, Capita, Serco etc are huge monster corporations. They really do have a global reach. As such it's possible that as with the banking sector, the phrase "too big to fail" springs to mind. Only with the like of G4s, we have a dangerous situation where they (along with others of a similar ilk) are always the preferred provider of X service due to there being little or no competition.

    Philip Hammond was lucky. Very lucky. At least he has the Army and the Police to fall back on. Okay, it means having thousands of hacked off soldiers and coppers having their summer leave screwed up. But this is seen as the far lesser of two evils, the other having a physical shortfall in bodies covering the Olympics.

    If as Historian says companies delivering the WP are saved from financial disaster due to a taxpayer, this needs to be exposed. No doubt Grayling, Smith, Cameron and Clegg would wish to suppress such details for as long as possible. Just as they're doing with the WP results. However, once exposed, I do hop the public will be at least half as angry with this bail out as they were when elements of the banking sector was in the same position.

    1. The One True Elg28 August 2012 at 10:16

      The problem is commercial confidentiality on the contracts. If the government changes the contract to give more fiscal support to providers, perhaps all but abolish the idea of payment by results, hugely increased attachment fees etc, are we forced to know about it?

      Will the DWP tell us in a years time that the providers are doing much better financially and payment by results is working, whilst having previously sabotaged it to be more payment, less results so outsourcing and government reputation doesn't suffer?

      Your dose of rampant speculation, sponsored by The Elg.

    2. I don't know if there is a specific date for the release of the Wp stats.
      I get the feeling that the govt is waiting for another "good day to release bad news"! Already it looks like they will be released whilst parliament is on its massive summer recess thus curtailing the opportunity for debate and publicity.
      I bet Smith and Grayling are beavering away trying to work out a way of putting a gloss and/or spin on the figs.
      Still as my old grannie used to say "you can't polish a XXXX" (I had a very unreconstructed grannie!)

    3. But does this not defeat the point of privatization,constant bail outs end up costing the Taxpayer a lot more in the short run as well as the long run,every genius Politician wants to re-invent the wheel,IDS,Greyling and the list goes on,any actual results (and this is my opinion,not fact)that cannot be spun in a positive light are buried or classed as a commercially sensitive issue and will not be disclosed.


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