Serco and Reed – The Profit Hungry Vultures at the Heart of the Big Society

David Cameron’s flagship Big Society initiative, the National Citizen’s Service,  is set to be dominated by profit hungry vultures like Serco and private training company Reed in Partnership.

The National Citizen Service was launched to much fanfare shortly after the current government weren’t elected, as a shining example of the Big Society at work. It has now been announced that a consortium including the multi-national security and workfare company Serco have picked up the largest share of the contracts to expand the scheme, winning 6 out of a possible 19 lucrative regional contracts.  Reed in Partnership, another company with a background in workfare, have also been awarded a contract.

Under the scheme 16/17 year old can take part in a short programme which involves sport, outdoor pursuits and ‘volunteering’ (such as, according to the Daily Telegraph, clearing wasteland). The involvement of Serco and Reed suggests that unpaid work is likely to remain at the heart of the project.

Whilst Cameron clearly launched the scheme in an attempt to appease the ‘bring back National Service’ brigade, at present it is entirely voluntary and not based on a military model.   Cameron has claimed that: “This is about sowing the seeds of the Big Society – and seeing them thrive in the years to come.” 

The truth seems to be that this is a gimmick designed to further profit the private sector at the expense of properly funded youth services working with the most excluded young people.

After last year’s riots the Cameron announced the scheme would be hugely extended, eventually becoming available to every young person in the UK.  Despite this one major national young people’s charities, the YMCA, has claimed that  the project is largely benefiting middle class families.  Certainly the picture above, taken from the scheme’s facebook page, does not seem to represent the diversity of the communities affected by last year’s disturbances.

The true face of Cameron’s Big Society is starting to emerge.  Whilst youth clubs in inner city areas close due to funding cuts, middle class kids are sent on tax payer funded jollies which serve to line the pockets of private sector poverty pimps.


12 responses to “Serco and Reed – The Profit Hungry Vultures at the Heart of the Big Society

  1. The sharks are truly starting to swim huh. I can see a time when allservices are provided by unpaid workers in receipt of benefits. It is cheaper than a wage and worker entitlements isn’t it. I can see the probation service expanding their workers from ‘the so called’ criminal group – grass cutting, graffiti clearup etc and oh so much more. Oh yes People with disabilities, or those who are elderly will be ‘cared for’ by unpaid/unwaged benefit recipients (who may get put onto courses to pay lip service to their complete lack of any knowledge in this respect) something else ‘provided’ no doubt my money grabbing companies. In truth unless people band together and really get active and involved – the expropriation of control/power/money/property/identity/resources and more etc will occur and the losers (as usual) will be the people currently considered the underclasses, the ‘plebs’, the useless and unproductive. In short, the majority of those who are not ‘them’

    As I say…we will be swimming in shark infested waters!

  2. So the middle and upper class kids get to do the kayaking, orienteering etc. while the working and pleb class kids get to clean up the areas for the others to play in with the ‘possible’ promise of a wee go on the toys if they do a good enough job.
    Sounds about right for Tory rhetoric

  3. Bloody Tory morons.
    There’s a very well-established scheme to do what they’re outsourcing to be converted to slave labour.
    It’s called the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

    Only catch is, if they tried to give management of that to Reid and Enslavier, Phil would get medieval on them, and Cameron.

  4. It’s kinda like the hitler youth meets corporate greed.
    Money for nothin’ and your slaves for free.

  5. something survived...
    Daily Post, North Wales, Thursday 27/9/12
    [Article against the ‘put benefits online’ plan:]
    Online rule for Universal Credit could cause chaos in North Wales says welfare rights organiser
    by Alex Hickey, DPW West; Sep 27 2012
    FORCING everyone to apply for their benefits online will be an administrative “nightmare” and could see people lose their homes.
    That is the warning made by a welfare rights adviser as concerns grow about the UK Government’s roll out of the new Universal Credit which has been designed to be claimed online.
    It comes as Wales’ Equalities Minister, Jane Hutt, said people with little or no IT skills could have difficulty applying for the credit which will replace all existing state benefits and tax credits from 2013.
    As a key part of the UK Government’s welfare reforms, Universal Credit is designed to be “digital by default” but Fred Parry from Rhyl’s Benefit Advice Shop fears the vast majority of his 8,000 clients, who have no access to a computer, could be left in “poverty” unless the government relaxes its online application process.
    Mr Parry said: “This reform is going to be extremely difficult. I don’t think people have a clue what is going to hit them. It is going to be a nightmare. I would say 75% of our clients don’t have any access to a computer and of that number 85% couldn’t make a claim for Universal Credit online. If people can’t claim their benefit online they will be left in poverty, some will lose their homes, others could be kicked out of rented accommodation.”
    Iwan Rhys Roberts of Age Cymru said: “As society moves increasingly towards providing information and accessing services online, we need to make sure that no-one is disadvantaged because they are unable to – or choose not to access technology.”
    A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said there would be face-to-face and telephone support to claim Universal Credit, just as now.
    “Research shows 78% of working-age benefit claimants use the internet already, but anyone without IT skills or access to a computer will be supported.”
    Related stories You might also be interested in
    -MP Clwyd slams universal credit as catastrophic
    -Government considers benefit reform
    -Mum ‘allergic to life’ says benefit changes forcing her to work
    -Linking benefits to wages will hit 860,000 in Wales
    -Staff accused of smoking outside Wrexham care home resident’s window (2)
    -750 new Argos jobs in Wales (1)

  6. something survived...

    Latest on government schemes:
    1) SERCO (Serco Group PLC) are running schools; and are now hiring Children’s Swimming Teachers! (Jobcentre machines, 27/9/12)
    Serco are a) Military b) Nuclear c) A provider of the Work Programme and previous Work Scheme/s.
    2) Above 2 articles, Daily Post, North Wales, Thursday 27/9/12:
    Print edition: pages 1, 5, 6. URL: see above, and post about ‘Sack the Co-Op Until They Ditch Atos’ on this site.
    -Disabled woman who Atos etc ‘found fit for work’ (page 1 and page 5)
    -Reasons Universal Credit is a bad idea for people unable to use computers.
    -Other articles on Benefits (on Daily Post site).

    3) Jobseekers told to get on their bike?
    A Jobcentre machine was asked today to find local jobs within 5 miles of the claimant/writer’s city in North Wales. Here is what (as Marvin the Paranoid Android, of Douglas Adams’ ‘The Hitch-Hikers Guide To the Galaxy’ would call it) the ‘depressingly stupid machine’ came up with:

    Jobcentre Jobpoint machine, North Wales, Thursday 27/9/12:

    Travel agency job; Pay is National Minimum Wage.
    The advertisement told people that they must relocate in only 3 days’ time, from North-West Wales to Lancashire! (The job itself seemed okay, but:)
    They must start work on Monday 1/10/12.
    (No travel/removal/relocation/accommodation expenses are paid!)

  7. United StereoTypes of Unemployment (U.S.T.U)

    Sports, voluntary work and outdoors type stuff is all that this, and EVERY government party, have to offer to our young ones?

    If their kids are doing the same then lets go. But if ‘their’ kids are bossing ‘our’ kids about, the seeds that sCameron is referring to will grow into another coupla hundred years of control in their IVF-test-tube-genetically-flawless-hands.

  8. Is anyone aware that under the current Welfare Reform bill, in future JSA claimant will be required to spend “35 hrs a week looking for work” rather than the current obligation to show evidence of a set number of Job Seeking activities? How can such a requirement be enforced, other than through some king of surveillance software, which itself would presuppose online access? It sounds like another device to support the real purpose of JobCentre Plus and WP providers, which is to sanction people rather than help them find work.

    • Call Centre Slave

      It could be like the software used in call centres which monitors ALL activity, even things like the “talk time” (the amount of time you spend speaking on calls). Call centre monitoring software is super-super intrusive.

  9. Well I reckon they will microchip us all soon, and they can then locate us wherever we are at any time. Probably has a kill-switch too. Those RFIDF devices are soon to be available through Lloyds pharmacy (so doctors can monitor patients and patients can monitor themselves yeah right) Do not think it was for anything so pleasant.

  10. United StereoTypes of Unemployment (U.S.T.U)

    I visit via mobile and can do an intensive jobsearch in a I visit via mobile and can do an intensive jobsearch in a I visit via mobile and can do an intensive jobsearch in a I visit via mobile and can do an intensive jobsearch in a hour.

    I check the site 3-5 times a day, hoping to find a job just added. I like to think that I’m ahead of the pack.

    I have the page I want bookmarked for quick access. The postcode page.

    Today I used my usually bookmark and was directed to main page.

    The page view was different, the process was longer (estimate 5x) and I was unable to target specific jobs related to my skills with ease, due to an increase in sub catagories.

    My quick and simple method of jobsearch has altered to a tedious and lengthy one.

    Is this a ploy to make 35hrs of jobsearch activity sound like a fair request?

    A few months ago I could click ‘all jobs’ and view every job added to in the past day, 2 weeks &/or month.


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