The Centre for Social Justice is a right wing Christian dominated think tank which has been behind much of this Government’s welfare reforms. Whilst Iain Duncan Smith stood down as Chairman when this Government weren’t elected in 2010, he remains a patron. As revealed in the Guardian yesterday, his policy special advisor, Phillipa ‘pray away the gay’ Stroud, is now co-chair of the organisation.
The Centre for Social Justice list Manpower as one of two ‘platinum’ corporate partners who provide funding to the organisation – the other being international management consultants Oliver Wyman.
Manpower founded, and remain one of the largest share-holders of Working Links, a welfare to work company. Working Links have Work Programme contracts in Scotland, Wales and the South West and currently receive around £120 million a year from Iain Duncan Smith’s department.
This means that Phillipa Stroud not only picks up a salary from the DWP as a policy advisor, presumably advising on things like who gets Work Programme contracts, but is also paid by an organisation funded by a Work Programme contractor.
And if that conflict of interest isn’t enough, it gets worse. Working Links have been accused of endemic welfare to work contract fraud, something the DWP is currently investigating. So in her DWP job Phillipa Stroud is involved in investigating the Manpower funded company, whilst simultaneously being paid a wage elsewhere by a Manpower funded think tank.
Working Links have also provided direct funding for the Centre for Social Justice, handing over £10,ooo to fund their 2010 awards.
By happy coincidence, Phillipa Stroud’s co-chair at the Centre for Social Justice is David Blunkett. Blunkett is also a paid advisor to A4e, the other company accused of fraudulent behaviour relating to their Welfare to Work contracts.
Once again today the DWP dodged providing any performance figures for the Work Programme which has already cost almost £1 billion. Long term unemployment continues to soar despite the scheme, but for Phillipa Stroud and Manpower it appears to be full steam ahead on the Work Programme gravy train.