Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another let down from Cameron

The BBC has found out that, despite rising unemployment - partly its own fault - the government's new Work Programme will take 605,000 people in 2011/12 and 565,000 in 2012/13. In 2009/10, Labour's schemes helped 850,000 people.

Oddly, given the evidence from the Public Accounts Committee that Jobcentres worked better on the Pathways to Work:

Contractors have universally failed by considerable margins to meet their contractual targets for helping claimants who are required to go through Pathways. They have performed worse than Jobcentre Plus areas, although recent improvements have narrowed the difference.
Predictably, the government is going with the external providers, even though the contract management last time round looks to have been exceptionally poor and has erred on the side of the supplier.
Despite being paid £100 million in 2008–09, providers claim not to have made a profit from their contracts. The Department agreed to pay £24 million in service fees early in view of contractor cash flow problems, although we consider the need for this was questionable given the large size of some of the organisations involved. The Department had an objective to build a healthy market, but has failed to develop an adequate understanding of the supply chain. It has not monitored how well prime contractors are sharing rewards and risks with the more than 80 specialist sub-contractors involved, and we have concerns that effective small private and voluntary organisations working in local communities are being asked to take an unfair share of the risk by prime contractors.
It isn't clear that lessons have been learned from this programme, as

Graham Hoyle, the chief executive of the Association of Learning Providers - who represents more than 100 firms and voluntary organisations bidding for Work Programme contracts - says "there is no question" that some of them will go out of business, and community groups or voluntary groups hoping to get contracts
are particularly vulnerable.
So, within a day of another relaunch, that's another nail in the coffin of the Big Society.

Oh and the reward for the effectiveness of Jobcentre Plus? 9300 jobs will be cut from a service that we actually need. Fewer people will be helped by a less-effective service.


Roger Harmer said...

The BBC article, while generally good, is perhaps slightly misleading about the numbers. The numbers quoted are simply the estimates by officials about how many people will need the support of the Work Programme. Everyone who meets the criteria for joining the Work Programme will be placed on it and that is not limited to the numbers quoted - or to put it another way, if the numbers are that low it will be an indication that the economy is recovering well, not that lots of people can't find places on the Work Programme.

One of the interesting things about the Work Programme is that is continues the direction of travel started by the last Labour Government, and indeed has the same architect, Lord Freud, as did their welfare to work reforms. Its a direction of travel that most people in the sector broadly support, though its also certainly true that many are nervous about the performance levels currently being demanded of bidders by DWP.

Anonymous said...

My partner is registered blind she has just been for her third mandatery appointment with pathways to work and has been told they have been made redundant from today .what on earth is going on surely this should of been dealt with better.