How Welfare to Work Companies Cook the Books – and why this Government will let them

Bungling Employment Minister Chris Grayling was quick to tell us that last week’s appalling Work Programme performance figures were not to be taken too seriously as ‘revised’ figures will be released in Autumn.

This will give Welfare to Work companies more time to pick up some ‘job outcomes’ from people who have got jobs under their own steam. With claimants sentenced to two years on the Work Programme, the odds are that eventually many people will find work despite the scant help offered by welfare to work training companies.

This is just one of the perfectly legal ways that Welfare to Work companies can cook the books.  Below is a handy guide to what these shysters are really up to behind the scenes.

Rorting

The Australian Government recently announced an investigation into their own Welfare to Work sector after it was revealed that many companies were picking up lucrative Government fees for placing people in jobs that individuals had actually found themselves.  This is known as ‘rorting’.  In the UK this practice is entirely legal and even encouraged.

Recent leaked documents revealed how the fraud ridden A4e were instructing staff on how to claim a job outcome fee, which could be worth up to £13,000, even when someone has found themselves a job before formally joining the Work Programme.  More often claimants are harassed, sometimes for months,  into providing details of any employment they may have found during or after leaving welfare to work provision.  Welfare to work companies have hoodwinked this and previous governments into believing that no-one is capable of getting a job without first attending a motivational training session or having an A4e advisor massacre their CV.  The truth is that people find themselves jobs everyday with no help at all from welfare to work vultures.  There is no obligation to tell Work Programme providers where you are working should you find a job.

Double Funds

Many Welfare to Work companies, and larger charities who may have Work Programme sub-contracts, often have other funding in place aimed at helping people find work or gain qualifications.  These could be European Social Fund (ESF) contracts, lottery money or even sub-contracts to deliver training for local colleges.  Despite the Tory lie that they invented payment by results, these contracts will usually be ‘output based’.  This has been the standard arrangement across the sector for 20 years, and means payment is dependent on securing a certain number of job outcomes or qualifications.

As an example, a charity may have an ESF contract to work with long term unemployed people.  They are paid depending on how many people they place into work.  Should they also have a Work Programme sub-contract then they can sign participants up to the Work Programme as well, meaning they get paid twice when anyone finds a job.

It is not unheard of for providers to buy job outcomes from other providers who are operating different contracts.  This can be done simply by using a combination of threats and bribes to encourage claimants to fill in paperwork to sign them up to the Work Programme.  A4e are notorious for using vouchers to encourage certain behavior,  such as forcing people to just sign the damn paperwork and then they can leave.

Another form of double fund is when a provider has a contract to carry out some form of public services, for example providing security for a major international sporting event.  This leaves Welfare to Work companies like Serco and G4S with two lucrative opportunities.  Firstly they can mandate people on welfare to work schemes to workfare to carry out the public service contract, saving a fortune in wages.  Secondly they can cherry pick their Welfare to Work participants and employ them on the public service contract picking up fat job outcome fees in the process.  A4e are notorious for staffing their own company with participants from their welfare to work provision and claiming job outcome payments.  This is entirely legal.

Friends and Family

Like all of us,when in trouble the Welfare to Work industry calls on friends and family for support.  Staff will be encouraged to hunt down unemployed acquaintances and family members.  Participants in welfare to work schemes may well be asked to do the same, with promises of bribes in the form of bonus payments or vouchers if they can track down an elusive ‘job ready’ candidate.  Job Ready candidates are the Holy Grail of the welfare to work industry – representing as they do free money.  These are people quite capable of, and quite likely to find a job under their own steam.  When they do the provider picks up a payment just as long as they’ve managed to convince them to sign the right paperwork.

Mass Outreach

A variation on this theme is using a form of mass outreach to gather multiple sign ups to welfare to work provision.  This could involve a bunch of A4e spivs descending on an independent living centre, homelessness project or anywhere else they know they will find lots of benefit claimants.  The company can then sign up claimants en masse, no doubt after giving some gushing presentation about how wonderful their provision is.

The company knows that some of these people will get jobs under their own steam.  Even if they don’t they will still pick up between £400 and £500 pounds as an ‘attachment fee’ on the Work Programme.  So should a welfare to work company manage to sign up five claimants on sickness benefits they will receive two and a half grand, just for an afternoons work.  If just one of those people happens to find a long term job, then the company can claim up to a staggering £13,000.

The company doesn’t even have to do anything but sit back and watch the money roll in. This leads nicely onto …

Creaming and Parking

This is the practice under which the easiest to help are creamed off and given  intensive support (or harassment, often in the form of pr0longued workfare) to get them off benefits and into a job – any job.  These are people who would have got jobs themselves, often skilled workers or graduates.  As to everyone else, well they can be left to rot, or parked as it is known.

Under the ‘black box’ style of provision on the Work Programme, welfare to work companies are able to almost anything they like to ‘help’ someone back into work.  This can include doing nothing at all and in fact that makes good business sense.  It’s a numbers game.  Some of even the hardest to help will find work on their own, meaning yet more money for providers.  As to the rest, well the company already have the attachment fee in the bank.

The most lucrative way to manage the hardest to help is to not spend a penny on them.  This is far more profitable than throwing endless resources at people who the welfare to work companies know are unlikely to find work.

Working Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit is payable to people in self-employment who work for 30 hours a week.  It is paid at a rate of £20 a week less than the dole, but claimants no longer have to sign on.  Claimants do not have to be earning any money from their self-employment to claim Working Tax Credit, although in the long term this will raise alarm bells with HMRC.

Last months unemployment figures revealed that a huge rise in the number of  people becoming self-employed.  There is some anecdotal evidence that welfare to work companies are ‘encouraging’ people to sign off and become self-employed.  Companies can claim outcome fees should this happen.

Working Tax Credit for self employed people meets many of the aims of Universal Credit, the new benefits system being introduced in 2056.  Claimants can easily take up short periods of part time work, casual work or self employed work and declare it quite legally without losing benefits.  With the payments set at just over two thirds of dole payments and far less administration, it also saves the tax money as well.  Unfortunately Universal Credit will end all this for anyone who can’t prove they are earning the equivalent of minimum wage for 35 hours a week.

If welfare to work firms are bullying people into self-employment the claimants will have their lives devastated when the new regime comes in if they have not sustained the necessary income.  Even before then, HMRC regularly make checks to determine whether someone is genuinely working 30 hours a week on their business.  Should the HMRC decide they aren’t, then claimants can find themselves not just back on the dole, but in debt for the tax credits they have already been claimed.  Not that welfare to work company bosses will care.  They’ll be off mansion hunting with the money like Emma Harrison by then.

Workfare

Workfare is slightly different, but once again it is a mechanism which helps welfare to work companies gain tax payer’s cash rather than actually reducing unemployment.  Sending people on workfare is cheaper than having them sitting on job search training courses for starters.  More importantly it is a way for welfare to work companies to mop up any jobs that may have otherwise gone to unemployed people who aren’t on their provision.

It is noticeable that many workfare schemes have involved large employers like Tesco or Holland & Barrett.  If a welfare to work company can get their foot in the door with a big company they can effectively take over their recruitment.  Where Tesco might have once approached the Jobcentre with 100 jobs on offer, A4e can step in and promise them fives times as many workers for the same dosh.  The pay off is that Tesco take on the number of paid staff they were planning to recruit anyway and the welfare to work companies can claim an outcome fee for every job.  No jobs are created by doing this, and indeed they may even be lost as Tesco now have a glut of unpaid labour.  So even when Welfare to Work companies are at what they pretend is their best, they are simply moving unemployment around.  As usual it’s claimants who lose out as the job market shrinks and unemployed people are forced to work without pay.

These are just some of the scams that enable welfare to work companies to pick up huge wads of tax payers cash for doing basically nothing.  They are all more or less legal, and no-one’s paying that much attention anyway.  Employment Minister Chris Grayling, like ministers before him, needs his welfare to work provision to be a success.  Scams like these help boost the dire performance figures that the welfare to work sector achieves.

The welfare to work sector is one big scam and always has been.  It began under Labour and now a Tory Government is throwing £5 billion at these crooks.

This doesn’t mean unemployed people don’t need and deserve support.  Decent IT provision, internet access, quality advice on producing CVs, help with fares to interviews – all of these things can be vital for people trying to get back into work.  Unfortunately there is a scant supply of such services on the Work Programme.

Even better would be high quality acredited training, that leads to real skills and real qualifications.  NVQs were once available as part of welfare to work provision.  But that’s seen as old fashioned by welfare to work companies these days.  NVQ assessors are expensive after all.

The new style of black box welfare to work provision ranges from endless workfare to abandoning people to their own devices.  Anything that’s cheap will do.  And still the cost to the tax payer rises.  Welfare to work companies are laughing at us all the way to the bank.  And Chris Grayling’s career depends on the racket continuing.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

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80 responses to “How Welfare to Work Companies Cook the Books – and why this Government will let them

  1. Great article.

  2. Great stuff, as ever, Johnny.
    Re. Rorting – wouldn’t it be fun if someone took a provider to the small claims court to claim back the job start fee if they can prove it was them and not the provider who found the job?

  3. Litigation,litigation,litigation.
    Sue the bastards!

  4. I’ve had experience of rorting without even getting a job! One employment scheme I was on about 10 years ago listed as an “achievment” a voluntary position that I’d been doing for years, and had to take time off from to attend their meetings.

  5. Typo – Universal Credit will be introduced in 2013… not 2056. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/welfare-reform/universal-credit/

    • Judge Dredd: AD 2056

      You wanna bet?

    • Computer says no.

    • I’m sorry, “Dave”. I’m afraid I can’t do that.

    • So they really are pushing ahead with getting UC in place next year?

      I guess you have to respect their balls, even if they are a merciless cadre of dull witted capitalist cunts.

      • It’s already been set back until 2014,and I hear that In Da Shit will probably lose his job in the next reshuffle.
        There are BIG questions about the security implications of outsourcing such sensitive info,which will be the case,as Herr Schmidt wants his UC to be handled by call centres in India. Not exactly in keeping with jobs fit for heroes. And it won’t work anyway. Panic at The DWP!

        • I heard it had been postponed as well, but then IDS was reported to have said that it was going to go ahead anyway next year.

          • I think you’ll find that’s just more fantasising from IDS. It may well be that some very minor part of UC comes into being next year but the full concept, if it ever happens, won’t be till many years in the future. We don’t have the technology, simple as that.

        • ”’Panic at The DWP!”’ a.k.a ‘Business as usual.’

  6. What a fraudulent odious set-up! i was on one of these scheming schemes when well enough. Training you could access was shite- so low level i wanted to burst out laughing. At the time i wanted to train to be a podiatrist, knew a course that would accept me etc. Was there funding for that? even though i argued that i would be paying lots of lovely tax and Ni once qualified, so it would make sense to support me, guess what. Nil £, no ackers, rien d’argent: you get the picture. Yet one of their payments they get from the gov would have seen me through my training. Tossers!
    No help whatsoever.

  7. Pingback: How Welfare to Work Companies Cook the Books – and why this … | Online Study Zone

  8. “Another interesting debate, however, is to be had on the potential link between G4S’s failure and the scandal surrounding the deployment of “workfare” staff around the Queen’s Jubilee.”

    http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/voices/2012/07/its-companies-g4s-who-really-embody-something-nothing-culture

  9. Eric Greenwood

    what is the difference between 4 people forced to work as slaves, and the Work Programme? Government money

  10. Migrant with integrity

    What a shame that everything Jonny writes is factually incorrect and always misinterpreted.
    Even greater shame that the people that follow this are taken in and suduced by your cultish rhetoric.
    The very people that you claim to defend are being disadvantaged by your constant emotional and inflamatory untruths.
    Be a proper revoluntionary and do something good for the people you try to support. And those that follow this blog religiously – widen your views and do something for yourself rather than complaining about other people doing stuff to you.
    You create your own life, as migrants do by coming over here. Don’t let the side down and wallow in your own self anger which achieves nothing for you, your families and those around you.

    Have a good day and feel better about yourself.

    • Blimey. It seems that Neurolinguistic Programming can work wonders after all. Where can I get some? I must stop analysing everything. I have to learn how to chillax and go with the flow.

    • Just do one, you spineless sycophantic cunt.

    • I am insulted by your assumption that I/we are narrow minded and do nothing for ourselves. What is your evidence for this? Have you researched what other sites we use, newspapers we read, education we have, community initiatives we are involved with, work we do, what disabilities and conditions we may suffer from, research we engage in, courage we have, interests, hobbies etc? No, i didn’t think so.
      hearsay, or conclusions come to from looking at a couple of blogs, is NOT research and therefore your conclusions reached are invalid.

      Be respectful. Be open minded. Do some real research. Stop insulting people.

      • Migrant with integrity

        You miss the point of my comment. The constant anger and emotional distrust of every change to the welfare system is not doing anyone any favours. It needs to change. People are being disadvantaged and held in (relative) poverty by the very system this blog defends. I see it first hand.
        My comments are not inflamatory but merely an alternative to the negativity that Jonny writes and that the comentators rally on.
        I did not infer that you do nothing for yourselves nor make a judgement on any disabilities, but your response highlights the point I am making in that it doesn’t matter who is doing what to you, it doesn’t matter anymore. Shouting unfairness or disadvantage gets you nowhere.

        • Hello Voice!

        • That’s your argument – benefit cuts are good for you so stop whinging and die quietly?

          pathetic

          • Migrant with integrity

            Again you mis interpret. My argument is this constant attack and moaning about your personal injusticies is not doing anyone any favours, quite the opposite.
            Sadly you resort to the typical left method of arguing and that is by shouting the loudest and being as emotive as you can.
            I didn’t once infer that benefit cuts are good for you, I stated that the system needs changing to stop people being held in the system in relative poverty with no way out. You make the link between cuts and dying. That is simply untrue.
            The system whe have got to now, even pre coalition was a perverse system. We still have the same core of long term unemployed that we did 10 years ago despite masses of money being pumped in and having a boom in the middle. Clearly the whole thing needs reviewing and changing.

            Intead of shouting, try a reasoned and fact based arguement. Thats what this blog needs. Maybe something constructive can come from it.

        • So migrant.with integrity just how is the current system by welfare to.work providers helping.people escape poverty? AllI see andvhearis profiteering at the hands of the vulnerable rather than assistingbthem.
          All.jobseekers want is real.assistance rather be treated as cadh cows and lazy feckless individuals.

          • Migrant with integrity

            Then define real assistance. No one suggests that everyone is lazy and feckless, quite the opposite.
            I think profiteering is a bit strong given that there is no money paid until 6 months into work. How do you think a company profiteers when theres no money unless the jobeeker likes their job enough and its paid well enough to stay in it?

            What about the people using the services who have in one ear the negative bashing of the work that they are doing with their advisor and in the other ear the advisor trying to support them.

          • What a shame I can’t reply to migrant with no integrity’s latest rant. Not.
            I hope he or she becomes unemployed soon and gets the full benefit of the government’s “help” to find non-existant jobs. This is the longest slump since the 1930s and the jobs market is cratering. Furthermore, paid work is being undermined by this arse-witted government’s cruel workfare scams.

            Can’t wait for them to find this out first hand… after all, if it’s so wonderful, they’ll have no problem, as long as they “think positive”. Scum.

          • Eric Greenwood

            Ok, Migrant with integrity. If you object to this blog, dont post. I and my other posters have experienced the booms and busts of this country, We have see gross profitteering by these companies. When the unemployed become commodities to be traded and blamed. I have experienced the work programme in all its 3 incarnations, and they do not work.. and your statement that these companies get nothing until after months, thats wrong, they get an attachment fee of £400. why do you think a4e has gotten £46 Million.. the tooth fairy. The changes to the welfare system is in essence a dismantling of the whole system,, when everyone in need is punished, When there is a blame game against the unemployed. This is the problem.. Have you actually experienced these places.. Guess you havent.. they are soul destroying, you are bullied, insulted, treated like a tick box..

        • Once again you make assumptions “it doesn’t matter what is doing what to you, it doesn’t matter anymore”. This is a view, not reality. we sift carefully what is happening in order to be informed active citizens in the democratic process. you have not lived the history of this country as i have. I have been delighted with particular initiatives from early on in the former Labour government and wrote to my Mp who was an excellent constituency MP to highlight how good they were. i am an old woman with a string of qualifications who has seen different governments and their policies come and go and know a thing or two about our political system. So don’t tell me I’m not analytical. Don’t tell me I have blanket views. Stop your arrogance and have respect for the people of the UK who are suffering and trying to give eachother support. You are naive about our country. I am tired and ill and will not reply to any more of your blogs.

    • WTF is a ‘revoluntionary’? you mindnumbingly cretinous little tory cunt troll.

  11. jonathansharpe

    There seems to be no depth to which companies will not go to obtain cheap exploitable compliant labour.
    My work programme provider just recently found me a job. In which I found myself working alongside someone who obviously had severe mental heath issues. He was a problem to me from the start and when he started to threaten me with extreme violence and damage my possessions, I decided rather than risk the threat of very real violence I should leave. Of course now I am out of a job, not sure if I can claim benefit again, and the work programme is now starting to harries me. (I am ignoring them for now).

    Don’t these company’s realise the danger they may be putting themselves and their employees in, by dealing with these work programme people, do they even realize the backgrounds of some (admit a few) of these people found suitable for work.

  12. My posts are always deleted on the internet because the government and the media do not want people to know what is going on. There is no freedom of speech anymore!

    I am disabled and have a life long illness. I have had many operations which have also led to other physical problems. I cannot leave my home due to my illness. My physical illness has caused me severe mental problems and I have been a total recluse for over 10 years. They have put me on ESA Work Related Group and have said I have to attend Work Focused Interviews and the Work Programme. They know I cannot attend and are threatening to stop payments and make me homeless. The only options I have will be suicide or prison. Open your eyes people, this government is killing off the disabled and the vulnerable and making slaves of the rest. Action has to be taken before more lives are lost.

    • Nobody, this might be of some use.
      OK guys, RTs needed: Disabled people with experience of #workfare . CONTACT ME. Writing article about it. Can be anon if preferred.
      acmakoff at gmail dot com

  13. Another ponzi schemecooked up.in Whitehall to grease the palms of the already successful ponzi players.
    As alwaysa with ponzi.schemes it relies on new suckers enticed by promises of that.bjt ‘extra’ when the mainstream e.g. JCP provides nothing more than a signing on service.
    As with all ponzi schemes knowledge and awareness of the sc ams is its mortal.enemy. Its only a matter of time before the whole work programme dies on its arse due to providers going bust or the job market tightening even further.
    The Grayling can only get away with spouting lies for so long before he gets the boot.

    • Migrant eith integrity, the social.security system was set up after WW2 to help individuals in need. It expanded as the country became wealthier and to relieve the harm caused to workers by unregulated unrestricted captialism.
      We have a jobs crisis not a crisis of supply of labour… We closed down manufacturing and outsourced large parts of the services sector.
      Following the banking crash,people cannot get the capital from the banks as they won’t lend, so making the crisis worse not better and leave people stuck in a system that hinders rather than helps.

      • Migrant with integrity

        Thats too simplistic an argument.We have had a massive boom which created heaps of jobs but we still had a large core group of long term unemployed. Lots of jobs but still high (hidden) unemployment. The greatest thing that the coalition has done is to deal with incapacity benefit and uncover the ridiculous system of hiding true unemployment. Thats why the numbers are going up, because we are finding the true level of unemployment. You may disagree with the method, but surely you have to agree that the objective is right.
        I suggest that we don’t have a jobs crisis, but rather a skills crisis. There are lots of jobs but misfitting skills prevent them from being filled.
        We also have a snooty attitude towards jobs. we all start at the bottom and work up, sometimes we have to start at the bottom again. I have, but you pull yourself up. It seems that there are those that see opportunity in low skilled jobs and those that turn their nose up. We need more that see opportunity, and climb.

        • Welcome to the other side Voice, glad you came to see us.
          ‘I suggest that we don’t have a jobs crisis, but rather a skills crisis. There are lots of jobs but misfitting skills prevent them from being filled.’

          There’s loads of skilled unemployed looking for work now, and in the mean time losing there cars, homes, ect, ect.’

          ‘snooty attitude towards jobs’
          What’s wrong with NMW instead of slave-labour.?

          • Eric Greenwood

            Migrant I want a basic administration job..basic i dont want to be a manager, i dont want to advance. If there were a massive jobs boost how come there were more than 2 million unemployed, (those that counted oin the job figures, many others are not counted). the amount of fraud due to incapacity is a fraction, of the mistakes that the dwp do. But if employers wont give you a chance, you are stuffed, its easy to say work placements but they are taking paid jobs out of the system

        • @ Migrant with integrity Fuck off! Cunt!

          • Migrant with integrity

            Thank you for your well reasoned and well argued response DogBone. You just confirm the fact that alternative non threatening views are not welcome in you and your assocociates world and that this end of the political spectrum is incapable of reasonable discussion and toleranace to any kind of discusion that challenges your view.
            Clearly confident in your own beliefs then.
            Sincerely, I hope that you find work soon, if you are looking and if you are in work, that you progress well.
            Enjoy the rest of your day.

          • FUCK OFF! CUNT!

  14. It was the last government who switched from IB to ESA. Long term unemployment is now rising even whilst short term unemployment falls. Job entry rates on work programme are a disaster. There was consistently around a million people on JSA throughout the ‘boom’ which is unsuprising as unemployment is necessary for capitalism to function. These are the facts. You’re just spouting DWP propaganda.

    • Probably a DWPbot…

    • Migrant with integrity

      Please explain the facts why unemployment is necessary for capitalism to function. This is not something that I have come across.
      I’m clearly not sprouting DWP propaganda. Please dont taint this conversation by resorting to basic playground tactics.

      • Capitalism is based on profit. That profit is derived by paying workers less than the true value of their labour. This means capitalism needs a mechanism to keep wages down. Without unemployment the power of labour would become too strong and force wages up, meaning profits would go down. This is why during periods of economic boom, when unemployment is low, Western countries use immigration to dampen wage demands.

        Basically capital cannot allow employers to need workers more than workers need employers – unemployment is used to prevent this happening.

        The demonisation of the unemployed is part of this process. Unemployment is a price worth paying, as the last Tory government said. However the more unpleasant life is made for people on benefits, the greater the competition for jobs and the lower wages stay.

      • Please desist ftom buffooner. You obviously have some goldplated income from some robber baron or other you lazy feckless tory sponger cuntless fuckwit.
        Or are you just BoJo in disguise?
        Whatever……just die,fuckin’ oxygen thief.

        • Thank you. And in the same breath you would demand that we listen to you and your ideas to sort this mess out as you have the right solutions.

          Shouting the loundest is not a way to win and arguement or win people over. Neither is inappropriate language.
          There seems to be a consistant style on here, and as there also seems to be some xenophobic responses I’ll walk away.

          For the record -‘ve lived here for decades, have experiance of welfare to work programmes and have been unemployed several times.
          Back to my earlier points, pick yourself up and start again.
          Blaming policy will not improve your life. Just get on with it.
          Thank you those for the consructive points. I have come away with some things to think about.

          • What kind of response did you expect? You advocate passive acceptance of sweeping welfare changes that will indeed change very many people’s lives – but not for the better. Individuals are not quite so willing to simply lie down and let the juggernaut roll over them. Resistance is not futile. Far from it.

            However, now you have proved to yourself that yours is the superior intellect, and I hope you are content with that. But I imagine that it must be pretty cold, up there on that mountaintop.

          • Arantine Ehlael

            “People are being disadvantaged and held in (relative) poverty by the very system this blog defends.”
            From what I can tell this blog isn’t defending any system. Quite the reverse.

            “…the system needs changing to stop people being held in the system in relative poverty with no way out.”
            I agree. Preferably changed into a system that understands that people are not numbers, or have the same aptitude, background and situation; one that properly analyses and effectively solves the varied problems in front of it, rather than just one in which the cheapest most convenient solutions are enacted to improve the bottom line of a select few companies and make the “management” look as though they’re doing something about the issue to win votes. Most other businesses or publically funded organisations unable to correctly diagnose problems and provide the best and relevant solutions on a consistent basis would be commercially and critically crucified. Apparently, it’s quite different in the W2W sector, with a goodly portion of those working in it either not up to speed with the idea of long-term performance-related reward or trying very hard to find ways to fudge it, and most of the public being distracted by spin about “evil scroungers” and claims about how successful the whole thing has been despite closer scrutiny telling a very different story.

            “You make the link between cuts and dying. That is simply untrue.”
            No it isn’t untrue – and there’s an abundance of proof if you choose to look. In the real world there are always winners and losers in life. Not everyone can be a winner at all times. The view that simply cutting support will enable everyone to sort themselves out is terribly naive, and when combined with naked avarice and indiscriminate irrational envy of others leads to isolationism, which is the antithesis of what a society is and is inherently self-destructive. Even Ayn Rand, the archdame of modern egoism, scourge of Communism and champion of Capitalism, acknowledged that other people mattered a great deal.

            “I suggest that we don’t have a jobs crisis, but rather a skills crisis. There are lots of jobs but misfitting skills prevent them from being filled.”
            Or maybe employers are simply deciding to raise the bar to ridiculous levels either (in the case of the smarter and more honourable employers) to make a final decision as to who out of the 150+ applicants gets the one position, or (in the case of the less smart and honourable ones) because they have an overinflated opinion of themselves and/or are looking for a highly skilled workforce for as little money as they can get away with, in some cases for free at the public expense.

            And don’t forget the vacancies that don’t actually exist, you know the ones run by recruitment agencies as marketing exercises for themselves. Then there’s the plethora of barely-legal “pyramid” scams sprouting up like weeds everywhere masquerading as proper jobs…

            Please don’t make the naive assumption that all businesses and the people who work for them are paragons of perfection, all of them intelligent, sensible and true to their word at all times.

            “We also have a snooty attitude towards jobs. we all start at the bottom and work up, sometimes we have to start at the bottom again. I have, but you pull yourself up. It seems that there are those that see opportunity in low skilled jobs and those that turn their nose up. We need more that see opportunity, and climb.”
            Sadly we don’t live in a meritocracy. We live in a society and economy that favours the inept and morally corrupt. We live in a society where investment bankers can lose the entire wealth of small nations by deliberately creating and selling worthless boxes of empty promises to each other (and everyone else), but have that loss to them recompensed at the expense of every other man, woman, child, and children unbegot. Yet a man or woman who’s worked hard all of their lives and now put of work by that house of cards crashing down gets insulted, threatened and abused for being “not good enough” or “lazy” by the same class of champagne-swilling people who crashed the economy into the iceberg, with their less well-off avaricious, envious hangers-on swallowing every word and loudly parroting them. To quote that oft used phrase of Cameron and his Coalition: “How is this fair?”

            And I’m not just some coffee-house critic. I’ve worked for large businesses – and have inside knowledge of others – whose promotion policy in practice is based less on capability and more on political expedience. I know of good people being overlooked, even demoted, bullied or got rid of, and the incapable and lax being promoted or given stays of execution as a way for those in charge to buy loyalty when their personality and own capability couldn’t, along with creating perfect scapegoats for themselves.

            “Blaming policy will not improve your life.”
            It can when you have the power to change it. Which we do.

            “There seems to be a consistant style on here, and as there also seems to be some xenophobic responses I’ll walk away.”
            You expected a warm and rational response? You’ve done the equivalent of telling a person whose arms and legs have just been broken by a thug that they should kiss that thug’s feet, thank them for their treatment, and then get up and carry that thug’s stuff without complaint. In one breath you espouse the Nietzschean ideal of self-creation, and in the next champion acting like an impotent, spineless serf. These two views contradict each other, to the point of leading to psychological dysfunction; but what can you expect from someone who only ever does and thinks what they are told and as such will never be anything other than a mindlessly obedient drone? “Ladies and gentlemen, behold 21st Century Capitalist Peasant Man! He’ll unquestioningly do your every bidding, and unlike his predecessors he’ll never expect fair payment, treatment, or care and protection from his superiors in return. You can abuse him, rob him, injure him, make him poor and sick, discard and disdain him when he gets old, and he will never blame anyone but himself!”

            Of course, instead of this whopper of a post I could’ve just said: “Uh huh. Don’t believe the hype, look at the shit that really goes down and in ‘hoods other than yours, dude,” but then you’d accuse me of being too simplistic and using inappropriate language.

  15. New Statesman covers the G4S scandal and its possible failure to supply for the Olympics due to trying to use people for free on Workfare.Great article.
    (even links to the job ad, G4S had up in Feb. advertising Olympic jobs – for no pay.
    http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/voices/2012/07/its-companies-g4s-who-really-embody-something-nothing-culture

  16. Work Ready Eddy (with varying levels of integrity)

    Isn’t it good practice on such threads not to feed trolls? Great article by the way.

  17. It’s important to uncover any bad treatment of people by work program providers and clearly many scams to use the unemployed are in place. Even the figures are questionable. I received my P60 recently and it showed that I only received just over £700 of taxable benefit in the last financial year when it should have been over £3000. It seems that since I joined the work program last year in june I have been receiving my benefit from another fund and not the jobseekers allowance pot. I surely can’t be the only one in Britain that this has happened to. I guess that I was one of those people who were regarded as not claiming jobseekers allowance for 13 weeks or more. Nice fiddling of the figures.

    • That’s how it used to work decades ago. You still got your benefit while you were on New Deal or whatever it was called back then but they weren’t called by their usual name. Obviously it was just all about massaging the figures.

  18. Wow – this is stunning. I had no *idea* how extensive these scams were.

    This is the poor being used as a resource for business twice over – firstly as labour (although they are often not actually getting paid), and also as a commodity for trade.

    This is like a whole new realm of capitalism – the new slavery. You see this to some extent in the aid-industry, where people are used as a commodity to gain resources for an NGO, despite what they are doing being not in their longer term interests.

  19. MWI really has to wake up and see what is happening around them. If they think the current (and previous) systems of waste and indeed deliberate govt misspending on unworkable schemes such as ND, FND, Pathways and now the vaunted WP is fine, then that’s up to him / her.

    I and others believe that such schemes are not just wasteful, they represent misspending of the highest order and even fraud in some cases. Presumably MWI has read the scandals surrounding A4e recently even in right wing organs such as The Daily mail and Daily Telegraph!

    Of course, its very telling that those who criticise such wasteful, unworkable and dodgy govt schemes are told to “stop complaining”. And yet, The Taxpayers Alliance who shout about non-jobs, wasteful public sector spending, and Britain’s EU budget are listened to, given airtime by all the major broadcasters and space in the press are strangely silent about wasteful schemes such as the WP. I can’t think why????

    Lastly, MWI I must ask what you do if YOU recieve poor service from a local / national business? It could be being served poorly / uncooked food from an Indian takeaway or fish ‘n chip shop. It could be staff being rude and surly at a department store. Or a courier company leaving an expensive item on your doorstep in the pouring rain. In any of these circumstances, would you as a customer not complain whether by telephone, email, written letter or in person? Would you not want the matter sorted? Would you not be tempted to take your custom elsewhere? Or would you as you are suggesting to others here simply accept poor service and accept it as one of life’s little hiccups?

    You see, when on the WP, you are referred to as a client or customer. However, unlike a customer of Tesco, Ford, Nissan, Apple, Samsung, M&S or Dell, a WP client is not in the position to use another product or service if he / she is unhappy with the level of service they currently receive.

    That said, if called a customer or client, people on the WP need to start acting like customers and clients and COMPLAIN when they are let down by poor service. MWi needs to learn that is all people here and elsewhere are doing!

    • Hi iMatt – Suggest that you read up on Work programme. It is the most cost effective system that has been commisioned. No sustainable job no payment. the upfront amount covers travel for customers and a few bits and peices nothing else. Companies running the programme fork out working capital for over 2 years before there is a break even point. If good, sustainable jobs are not provided, the company doesnt reach the break even point and loses the contract.
      The customers interests are completely at the heart of delivery. If they are not, they’ll go bankrupt.
      All WP compamnies have complaints proceedures, just like courier companies or department stores. If anything complaints would be treated better than those examples you give because of the spotlight on this industry.

      I would suggest, that there has been a great deal of choice from JCP programmes, prior to comming on to work programme. This is support as a last resort and maybe there needs to be a bit of prescription at this point.
      But thats just a view and certianly wouldn’t chime with many on here.

      Finally I would say don’t believe everything you read in the papers about WP providers being mean nasty and thieving.
      I don’t work for A4e just in case you jump to that conclusion

      • Eternal Return

        Hello Voice!

        Come down, O maid, from yonder mountain height:
        What pleasure lives in height (the shepherd sang),
        In height and cold, the splendour of the hills?

        -Tennyson: from ‘The Princess’.

        Never mind, ID forum comments will soon be available again, and you can get back to your comfort zone.

        • Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Natures peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy while cares will drop off you like autumn leaves.
          John Muir

          • Eternal Return

            You prefer to remain six thousand feet above man and time? But, Voice, don’t you know that love is of the valley? Poor, suffering Hugh Manity is waiting there, waiting for you to pay a visit. Why don’t you? Only, if you do, I would ask you to listen to what is being said and resist the urge to lecture and to preach.

  20. Voice of WP (I see you and others are not allowed to post on the ID website, so post elswhere). Perhaps YOU have to educate yourself on the sector you work in. If the WP is the most cost effective program, then what were people like yourself doing on ND, and FND? Pissing in the wind?

    The WP has abysmally low performance rates. A4e’s current results are just 3.5% for example. The govts target was an almost as low 5.5%!

    “The customers interests are completely at the heart of delivery. If they are not, they’ll go bankrupt.”

    Ahhh…like Eco Actif you mean. They have recently gone under due in part to banks and other investors who saw the WP as “too high risk” and their association with A4e as “a matter of great concern to potential investors”!

    I have had numerous debates with people like Voice about ND and FND. People who defended such schemes to the hilt. Guess who has been proven right? No doubt if these former schemes had been in operation, then Voice would have defended them too! As well he / she might as this scheme whilst clearly unfit for purpose, is their bread and butter.

    Face it Voice of WP. The WP is failing. Many economists, charities and others can see the figures plainly don’t add up.

    “Finally I would say don’t believe everything you read in the papers about WP providers being mean nasty and thieving.”

    Actually, the newspapers I quoted are inconsequential. They have been ‘Johnny come lately’s’ so to speak regarding the failings and fraud allegations of A4e. Others have been critical of them for years. Certain mainstream newspapers are simply playing catch up.

    However, if you are calling yourself Voice of WP, (as you do on ID) then you have to take responsibility for ALL the failings of the failure you so wish to defend!

    • WP isn’t failing. Like the rest of welfare reform it’s an excuse for switching money from the public purse into private pockets. It’s a scam and it’s doing that very well. The fraud squad should be involved. Ministers would be being forced to answer the questions they avoid in the House in the dock.

  21. Sorry to disappoint. I’m not voice.
    WP is not failing.
    The figures are not showing the full performance yet. If you had any understanding of this then you would know that sustained performance is only going to show in autumn as those cohorts meet their 6 month markers.
    I will humbly conceded that it is failing at that point, but it’s foolish and shows ignorance of the model to assume now that it is failing. This is not DWP spin, it is modelled expectations.

    To suggest that A4es performance is only 3% is missing the point. Do we know what the 3.% is? No. Do we know how much of their contracts this covers. Not really. Do we know how they have measured this ie cumulative or cohort… No. It’s a non figure that has some potential ” tell” if you make assumptions. Unfortunately those assumptions can be manulated either way. So though we argue from different ends of the spectrum, the truth is always out of reach rendering this a pretty useless piece of leaked info.

    If the newspapers reports are inconsequential why did you use them to further your point about alleged systemic failings. They are failings in past contracts, but not systemic. There is fraud in every industry,and more benefit fraud that A4e has encountered. Before everyone brings up profiteering, remember that companies must act within the contracts. Contracts are not negotiated. They are imposed. And rightly so. But they must be good contracts. ND contracts certainly required better security for the tax payer. WP is it. Poor performance will not be rewarded. Poor delivery will lead to poor performance. Tighter scrutiny will lead to better service. Market share shift will lead to a race for better performance, created by better services.
    The fittest will only survive. Not the most moneyed. Surely that is the right way to go about getting better service at a reasonable price. High investment hgh rewards will win. Low investment will deliver low rewards and failure. No one can afford the latter. Customers, delivery staff or organisations.

    Eco actif is a loss for sure. And I mean that sincerely. But most organisations delivering WP will have financial backing for the first few years. From investors who feel that the risk is acceptable. One rejection doesn’t make a system failing. Show me 50% of dropouts citing this and i might concede that this is affecting WP.

    Whats your solution to WP? People need support. The same that WP is supposed to provide. Who should deliver it? Who should fund it? How do we ensure that it’s properly outcome based.
    jCP haven’t done the greatest job. Charities to this point have made very little difference. Good at supporting, poor at finishing into employment.

    • Yeah, right. Oh do push orf you silly sausage.

    • You’re “The Voice”, try and understand it
      Make a noise and make it clear
      Oh-wo-wo-wo, oh-wo-wo-wo
      We’re not gonna sit in silence
      We’re not gonna live with fear
      Oh-wo-wo-wo, oh-wo-wo-wo

      This time, we know we all can stand together
      With the power to be powerful
      Believing we can make it better
      We’re all someone’s daughter
      We’re all someone’s son
      How long can we look at each other
      Down the barrel of a gun?

    • Is that you
      “the Voice”
      or just a brilliant disguise?

  22. I mentioned news papers like the Daily Mail and Telegraph simply to show that it is the right wing press picking up on the failings of A4e and not just the Guardian and Private Eye who’ve been banging on about failures in your sector for many years. No doubt if they praised the WP, you’d have trumpeted their findings.

    Since June 2011 only 18% of starters got work. This could be for as little as a couple of weeks. The 3.5% figure from A4e are those who have found sustained work. That is for 13 weeks +. The WP has been going for 10 months now. Almost a year. Do you really think it will, say double those figures in even 18 months time?

    “Poor performance will not be rewarded”

    Utter crap! The very reason poor performance IS rewarded is that as wee have seen with G4s’s Olympic screw-up, the past poor performances of A4e, G4s, Serco et al under the ND, FND and now the WP are never taken into account. So we have pisspoor performances all round with little or no accountability.

    “Show me 50% of drop-outs citing this and i might concede that this is affecting WP.”

    You will never accept any figures as you are:

    A) Ideologically wedded to the WP and will happily misspend money to feed such ideology.

    B) Personally benefiting by being employed in the W2W sector.

    That said, there are charities who have not decided to get involved with the WP from the off as it was not financially viable. Blew a big hole in Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ plans.

    “There is fraud in every industry,and more benefit fraud that A4e has encountered.”

    Nice to see where you stand on a private company that exists only via government contract (i.e. the taxpayer) committing fraud. I’m glad you mention benefit fraud. Remember those DWP ads a few years ago, “If you’re caught committing benefit fraud, you could go to court and get a criminal record”, ” NO IFS, NO BUTS!”. Funny how NO IFS, NO BUTS never applies to A4e or Working Links?

    But of course, as with the banks and G4s’s security division, the W2W sector has the government over a barrel. They like the banking sector are too big to fail! Add to this is the fact that JobhCentre+ has been run down over the years.

    W2W providers drive out competition and become regional monopolies. Rather than raising standards they, despite having some good decent members of staff, generally drive down standards to a one size fits all approach.

    ” But most organisations delivering WP will have financial backing for the first few years”

    So why does the W2W sector want even more handouts then? If they have this financial backing, why are they asking for a potential bail out? The W2W sector cannot hit even basic targets, and guess what? They not only want more cash, they are blaming the nature of the WP contracts THEY signed up to!

    As this other voice of the W2W industry said in the Guardian a short while ago:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/02/a4e-job-agencies-payment-performance

    Even he says the WP is flawed despite his think tank being funded by the W2W sector!

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  25. Pingback: The Work Programme Part 2 – Having a laugh at the public’s expense | alittleecon

  26. Pingback: The Work Programme Part 2 – Having a laugh at the public’s expense | Think Left

  27. Pingback: How Welfare to Work Companies Cook the Books – and why this Government will let them | The Grim Truth | Scoop.it

  28. Pingback: The Mass Corporate Benefit Fraud Being Shrugged Off By The DWP | the void

  29. If youve got time to write this paranoid bullshit, then youve obviously got nothing else to do…GET A JOB. What about the millions of lazy, work shy bastards that people like me are supporting….isnt that fraud??

  30. Good day! I just want to offer you a huge thumbs up for the excellent information you’ve got here on this post. I will be returning to your blog for more soon.

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