Sunday, 9 June 2013

Those who work in the sector

Those who have followed this blog for some time will be aware of my attitude towards people who work in the w2w sector.  I don't allow any disparaging comments about them either individually or in general.  There are a number of reasons for that.  One is that, as someone who used to work in the business myself (although not for any of the primes and not recently), I know that the vast majority are decent human beings trying to do the best job they can.  It's not their fault.  Of course, there are people who are probably in the wrong job; and clients who have to deal with them will get angry and upset.  But that is true anywhere, and not a reason for denigrating all of them.  So I will not use this blog to insult or accuse staff.
Secondly, some employees and ex-employees have been enormously helpful to me; as providers of inside information, or as knowledgeable people who could explain things to me and others when I clearly didn't know what I was talking about.
From time to time staff have tried to engage with the blog by being critical of me or of the people who post here.  Usually I will allow that, if it's making a contribution to the discussion.  Most of them, however, mistake the purpose of what I do, which is to follow a particular company, and to look critically at the outsourcing business in this sector.  They want to tell us how wrong we are.  Some even want to sneer at people who are out of work, and tell them that it's their fault.  Fine, but there's at least one forum, the Indus Delta site, which is for professionals in the industry.  Or, of course, they could start their own site.  Here, we're not about a "balanced discussion" when that means giving equal space to people who want to praise the business and those involved in it, particularly whilst patronising or insulting their opponents.  So don't bother.

Finally, links to three articles to which I'll return in the next day or two; the New Statesman, the Scottish Daily Record, and the Independent.  


  1. Sick of the Work Programme10 June 2013 at 02:15

    Although it can be tempting to direct anger at individuals working for the providers, the overriding issue is that the design of the Work Programme is flawed. If it carries on in its present form, then I cannot see it producing anything other than dismal results.

    It is especially worrying to see people who work for the Work Programme coming on here to denigrate claimants, because it raises serious questions about how motivated (or not) they are to provide claimants with the support they need when their comments reflect negative attitudes towards those they are paid to help.

  2. Of course staff of the WP providers are human but so are the "customers". Many if not all are on a mandatory programme, and after 2 years leave without work. Why not get the "big Society" up and running by encouraging volunteering etc to those who just want something more worthwhile?

    1. I have tried to volunteer/work placement,the main problem has been that the WP is not geared up for it and unable to adapt for a round peg in a square hole.As for this site?I have submitted my opinion many times,occasionally Historian has not published it and upon reflection it was the right decision not to.

    2. Sick of the Work Programme10 June 2013 at 04:42

      Also, Anonymous (04:13), one of the main criticisms of the Work Programme in its current form is that participants can be required to give up voluntary work or work placements which they have organised themselves in order to do mandatory work placements arranged by their Work Programme providers. The Cait Reilly case of course centred on her being required to stop doing her voluntary work at a local museum (which was relevant to her career aims) in order to do an unpaid placement at Poundland.

  3. I'm in the A4E work program right now, have been for quite some time.

    I will admit that unlike other providers the A4E place I go to actually treats you with respect. Hell I miss one of the people who used to work there because she was so bubbly and encouraging without being patronising.

    I suppose the A4E I'm in is a rare exception, they do try at this office but the whole system itself really doesn't work too well if there are no jobs in the local area or when you have at least 20 people going for each job.

    1. This cannot be stated too often! The real problem with the Work Programme is that there are insufficient jobs available for all the "workless". The WP is an attempt (a very poor one) to impose a supply side solution (let's get everyone "jobready" then they'll just find jobs)to a demand side problem (not enough jobs). This leads to inevitable failure/underperformance. It's like trying to hit a screw home with a hammer: a perfectly reasonable tool just being used in the wrong circumstances and therefore not achieving the desired result. The frustration felt by all concerned is enormous. The providers (or some of them) seem not to realise the problem and blame the customers - if only they'd try harder, make more applications, send more speculative letters. accept lower wages and worse conditions etc. etc. This quickly becomes "It's the customers' fault!" . After all it must be down to the customers because the providers are doing everything right and by the book. So customers feel inadequate and bullied (and sometimes are).
      A drastic rethink is needed. I think it was Andrew Dutton (CEO A4e) who was quoted as saying in an unguarded and off message moment "You can't force people into non existent jobs". I don't often agree with him - but on this one I do!

  4. IDS back in front of the beak in the Cait Reilly saga:

  5. As a former A4e employee, I can say that we all knew that the WP was going to be flawed even before it started. One of my managers said that A4e would effectively become a recruiting agency. Now, how many 'recruiting agencies' actually spend time with the people that need it?

    If you forget the morally bankrupt arguments for throwing money at the private sector, these companies were expected, at the drop of a hat, to completely change their business model. Any company, department etc needs many months or even years to be able to change that much.

    My mangers were getting increasingly desperate, hence, many of them left and the ones who remained resorted to bullying and harassment which is why I left as it started to affect my health.

    There is overwhelming evidence that economic austerity produces more wealth for the wealthy as the economy contracts and increased poverty for everyone else. How can A4e or anyone else find long term jobs in this environment? The WP was, in my opinion, always designed to create a more obedient workforce. Perhaps in that respect, it has worked.


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