But this blog is supposed to be about A4e. So what has all this meant for them? Their results were not outstandingly bad or good, so they weren't singled out. Channel 4 News were able to resurrect that Emma Harrison interview to show how wrong she was. And A4e could really have done without that. After the crisis of February, when she had to step down from her government post and from the chairmanship of A4e, George Bridges of Quiller Consultants was called in to use his connections to get the company through the mess. Harrison's appearance will surely have set back those efforts. But more important in the long run is that the company itself cannot hide behind platitudes. The failure of the Work Programme puts it under scrutiny. Andrew Dutton writes: ".... our current performance is materially better than the first year data shows". Like all the other providers, the claim is that more outcomes are in the pipeline and will show up in the next release of data. But that was always going to be the case. He adds that "A4e has invested £50m in the past 18 months into our services, people and offices." This is what Harrison said was her own money. However, other providers claim to have broken even in the first year of the WP, so we can assume that that investment has been recouped. They have a curious set of graphics on their website. The figures include a claim that they saved the taxpayer £24m in benefits paid to people who now have jobs. They do not indicate whether this figure takes account of in-work benefits which people still have to claim. And does it take into account the amount the government has paid A4e? Anyway, figures like these mean little; it's the experience people have of the company, and its performance in doing the work it's contracted to do which count.
Thursday, 29 November 2012
The dust has settled on the Work Programme publicity. Amazingly, the spin failed and the right information got the headlines. The government had delayed as long as it dared so that it could put out 14 months of figures rather than 12. The 12-month outcome figure was around 2%. But even the 14-month figure came out well below the dead-weight figure. Who would have guessed that the media would actually be talking about the dead-weight figure?
Posted by historian at 13:49
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All those people over at A4e must be very dizzy from putting all that 'spin' on their Work Programme performance figures. It all looks very rosy indeed with an 80% success rate and their saving the taxpayer £millions to!ReplyDelete
Back to reality..
Where's the pie chart that shows their dismal failure rate of 96.5%?
ah now in another 12 months they'll have problems, firstly they won't be able to pull that same trick two years in a row, so there may be just twelve months in the second year. (Or maybe the government statistics regulator might insist that two years are just two years, in which case there'd only be ten months in the second year.ReplyDelete
on top of this the deadweight figures for the second year are up to four times as high as the first year, depending on what classification the people examined fall into.
so for some groups over the next eight months they will have to get ten times as many successes as they managed in the first year to hit targets. they're already two months into that second year, and look to be roughly online to hit the equivalent of the first years targets during the second year.
So at the end of the next years figures if it carries on as it is doing now, two year performance will have declined to the equivalent of around 1/3 of doing nothing
There 2 years ends on the 10th of June 2013, at that time the Work Programme will have been running 2 years exacly.Delete
Assuming they don't do any better until then, the percentage figure will remain the same, but the timescale will have doubled, so you will still end up with a figure of 3.5%.
The spin will be in overdrive for the next publication. There will be that many sanctions that the claimant figures will be staggeringly lower than what they are now.ReplyDelete
This will be the 'yardstick' of the 'success' of the programme, as anyone with a modicum of sense knows that it's all about stopping people claiming, and NOT getting people back into employment - as the Govt. & WPP's claim it to be.
You just can't polish a turd.
I almost didn't publish this, simply because of the last sentence. Be aware that you won't get another such sentence past me.Delete
And so it continues, there's no way on earth anything is ever going to happen to stop this system.ReplyDelete
All these figures being banded about makes no difference to the intention of the original inception of this program, it exists purely to remove people from the unemployed list, be it by sanctions, or forced into low paid work...nothing more.
I'm tired of this, a4e have done nothing but destroy my confidence and feeling of self worth, they have nothing to offer.
"Worse than Doing Nothing" when nothing is all they do.
I'm not attending a4e any more, I'm giving up my flat and moving into a shared house, the rent is only £50 pw, I can manage that and food with my freelance work.
I'd rather struggle like this than be belittled and patronized by this moronic system.
Add me to the the list and take your bonus.
Good luck, Ram. Do you become officially self-employed and therefore an outcome?Delete
Thanks historian, I just plan to disappear off the radar as far as a4e are concerned. I couldn't care less what happens.Delete
I'll be claiming nothing, and not be registering my new address with any service.
I just want my freedom back, it depends how it goes as far as declaring myself "self-employed", maybe in a few months time, I'm a graphic designer and work is scarce in the town I live, so I've switched from 3D Visualization to flyer and website design.
Thanks for this blog, it has been a good source of information, (even though it's brutally honest and exposes the work program for what it is) it's good to know where you stand in the grand scheme of things, and has helped me to my decision.
Don't disappear. I have valued your input very much.Delete
I hear you loud and clear ram. Thinking of doing likewise!Delete
The future does not look good at all.ReplyDelete
I envisage things will start to become very nasty indeed for the people on the Work Programme with A4e.
During my last appointment my adviser told me (with a face like doom!) things are going to change from next year. I'm guessing the pressure has started in earnest for A4e staff to improve their figures or face the sack. subsequently they will make increasingly draconian demands on their clients and start throwing sanction doubts about like confetti.
I think all we have to do is step back, and watch as the work programme collapses under the weight of mass unemployment and a stagnant economy.ReplyDelete
It would almost be funny to watch Ian Duncan-Smiths furious face, on the day when it is deemed to be politically expedient to close the work programme down. Almost funny because the untold treasure squandered, wasted on companies like A4e, while tens of thousands of people struggle to pay heating bills, or even buy food.
I would like to see a Royal Commission into the Work Programme, to investigate how the programme was set up and run. The lessons learned should be incorporated into legislation so that in future any such government project should have to justified along the lines of management science, in a detached and impartial way before it can be implemented.
Historian you say:ReplyDelete
"The figures include a claim that they saved the taxpayer £24m in benefits paid to people who now have jobs. They do not indicate whether this figure takes account of in-work benefits which people still have to claim. And does it take into account the amount the government has paid A4e?"
I have not checked the A4e site but have no doubt you are correct.
This figure does not appear to be verified (or verifiable) in any way.
Does anybody else feel another ASA complaint brewing up?
"I have not checked the A4e site." You should. they explain it by saying: "To calculate benefit savings we have counted the number of weeks our customers have spent in work by benefit type andDelete
multiplied this by the weekly benefit amount payable in each category." Which is fair enough, but leaves the questions I asked.
They have actually saved more as there are plenty of people like me who get paid more than what you get on JSA but don't have guaranteed hours. So while I am registered as unemployed for a good part of this year (although not for the past month) I have actually not received any JSA.Delete
It is pointless to make draconian demands of a client. The client cannot alter the dire state of the labour market and neither can A4E. Apparently the average level of unemployment in the Eurozone is now 10%. The real unemployment figure in the UK is probably about the same. Also, sanctions do not trigger outcome payments for the providers unless Ministers are cooking the books.ReplyDelete
What A4E needs is a complete re-appraisal of its methods. I don't think they understood how to deliver the Work Programme at the outset but I think they are gradually getting the hang of it now.
According to Channel 4 News, A4E received around £46 million from the Govt in attachment fees during the first 12 months of the Work Programme. Therefore Andrew Dutton's and Emma Harrison's extravegant claims to have invested £50 millon are irrelevant. A4E has only invested about £4 miliion net.
A4E now needs to invest at least another £10 mlllion of its own money if it wants to improve its performance figures to any meaningful extent. The cheapskate approach does not work with the Work Programme. A security guard whose SIA licence has expired has much in common with the extinct parrot in the Monty Python sketch. Ditto a Forklift driver without a current certificate for that or a construction worker without an up-to-date CSCS card.
I would agree that there is no point in training someone aged 40 or over to do a type of work where s/he would have a shiny new kwalifikashun but no relevant work experience as well.
However, if someone aged 40 or over has been unemployed for any length of time, the chances are that they do have some solid work experience of something but their qualification/card might have expired. If so then a new one might be desirable because they already have the relevant work experience to go with it. I reckon that re-training and re-skilling would be worthwhile but the Govt has passed the buck for paying for this onto the 18 Primes.
In my own area (Hampshire) A4E is in trouble. The other Prime is Maximus who have produced 4.1% against A4E's 2.8%. Ministers and the DWP insist that they intend to press ahead with the Market Share Shift in Spring/Summer 2013:
In A4E's shoes, I might make a commercial decision to let go of the Thames Valley area, which includes Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. A4E is based around Sheffield and Derbyshire. That is the area where they have the best network of local business contacts. The recent figures show that A4E have been more successful on their own turf than they have been in the South, an area which A4E's Directors do not know well.
'It is pointless to make draconian demands of a client.'Delete
Really! Iain Duncan Smith has made a song and dance about the numbers of people that have stopped claiming benefits while on the Work Programme. It seems the draconian demands are working very well indeed. Maybe not finacially for the providers, but for the Government figures certainly, and that is all that matters. The more people A4e kick off the dole the longer A4e will keep a hold of the multi-million pound gravy train. You are a fool to think otherwise.
As a former sub contractor of the Enron Corp,which went bankrupt,I have seen this accounting BS before,It has quite a similar ring,almost cult like,deny everything,push forward the mantra and keep the stock floating as long as you can.ReplyDelete
It was interesting that IDS was pushing the 3.65% figure as a sucess, how ever no one mentioned that the flip side of this figure was of course 96.35% failure.ReplyDelete
So The Work Progamme has failed and failed terribly with a failure rate of 96.35% over 13 months.
Does the Work Programme try and claim a job outcome for almost any job then? For example, if someone found Christmas work of 16 hours or more, which obviously, due the nature of being seasonal, would be unlikely to provide sustainable employment for more than a month or so.ReplyDelete
No, it's only claimable as a job outcome if it's full-time and lasts for 6 months. But if you have a break in your claim to do, say, seasonal work, the industry (and the PM) will say that it's a job. That's why there was such a difference between the official figures and those claimed by the industry.Delete