Tag Archives: st mungos

Homelessness Charities Abandon Work Programme

In a humiliating snub for Employment Minister Chris Grayling, one of the UK’s largest homelessness charities has pulled out of the Government’s flagship Work Programme.

St Mungos have handed back all 3 of the contracts they were involved in, claiming the scheme does ‘not have sufficient emphasis on those furthest from the labour market’.  Astonishingly they say they have not been able to place a single person into work since the scheme began.  St Mungos join the ever growing number of charities who have abandoned the Work Programme which appears to be falling apart at the seems.

Homelessness charity Single Homeless Project (SHP) also recently pulled out after raising concerns about the brutal sanctions regime which they say will force vulnerable people to beg and steal to survive.  In yet another blow to the Government, homelessness charity Crisis also appear on the brink of pulling out with a senior executive saying they have only received three people referred onto the scheme so far and warning that St Mungos’ decision is likely to be the start of a trend.

With typical posh boy arrogance Chris Grayling has said that charities unable to make money from Work Programme are simply ‘not good enough’ at what they do.  This claim is undermined by the lack of referrals being sent to charities by the ‘prime contractors’, largely private sector parasites like A4e.  Whilst charities may be able to source some participants through their own user base, if the numbers aren’t coming through the doors then the scheme is clearly not viable.

St Mungos have many years experience supporting homeless people into employment and have successfully completed many contracts with Jobcentre Plus.  Crisis recently merged with OSW, formerly known as Off The Streets And Into Work, possibly the largest and most experienced training and employment charity for homeless people. If these organisations are unable to place homeless people into work then the idea that cost cutting private sector poverty pimps like Serce and A4e will be successful is possibly Chris Grayling’s biggest delusion yet.

It is clear, that for homeless people at least, the Work Programme hasn’t worked.  With the big disability charities reporting similar difficulties with the scheme, it is likely that more major charities will pull out.

Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling are pretending everything’s fine and dandy on the Work Programme, but in reality it’s been catastrophe after catastrophe.  One of the main contractors, A4e, is currently under police investigation for fraud.  The recent workfare row means sanctions have temporarily been dropped from any attempt to force people into unpaid labour on the scheme.  This was a key strategy of many of the prime contractors, who will no doubt now be asking for yet more money.  And with A4e mired in investigations over dodgy dealings, Work Programme contractors can’t even get away with cooking the books anymore.

The Government is still refusing to say whether anyone has actually got a job after attending Work Programme, but the figures A4e managed to leak on their own website suggests the results so far are pitiful.

Iain Duncan Smith has bet his career on reforming welfare, but his plans amount to little more than fantasy.  His ludicrous obsession, that if only unemployed people were less lazy then uemployment would disappear, is not being borne out in reality.  The two million unemployed are slowly being joined by up to a million sick and disabled people forced into the labour market after benefits are ruthlessly stripped away by the new assessment regime.  Some of these people would have been sent to St Mungos on the Work Programme.  Where they will end up now is anyone’s guess.

It is to St Mungos shame that money, rather than the sanctions – which still apply to all activity on the Work Programme except workfare – is the reason they have pulled out of the scheme.  They should never have connived with the Government to inflict a regime on their users that mean chaotic or vulnerable people can be stripped of benefits if they miss a meeting or can’t attend a training session.  But the fact they are out is yet another crushing blow for Iain Duncan Smith’s attempts to reform welfare based on blind ignorance, prejudice and some stuff he read in the Daily Mail once.

The Homelessness Charities Involved in Workfare and Benefit Sanctions

Whoever runs the twitter feed for @salvationarmyuk had obviously been on the communion wine last night as they desperately attempted to justify the organisation’s role in workfare and benefit sanctions.

They had earlier released a statement in which they claimed that Work Programme no longer had benefit penalties attached to it, echoing fake Christian Iain Duncan Smith’s claim in the Mail recently that ‘our work programme is entirely voluntary’.

Why are Christians such lying bastards?  When not filling children’s heads with nonsense they spend their time defending forced labour, despite the Bible’s clear warning to: “Pay him his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it. Otherwise he may cry to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin.”  (well spotted by @Arbeitsscheu_UK ).

When the sinners at Salvation Army were called on their misinformation they claimed ‘we would never fib’.  If they aren’t fibbing then they are grossly unaware of the activities of the Salvation Army and their involvement in the Work Programme.

Work Programme is a mandatory scheme under which people can be sent to work for private companies without pay for up to six months or face benefit sanctions.  Salvation Army should be well aware of this, as they not only employ Work Programme participants in their  shops, but they are sub-contractors for the Work Programme in several areas around the UK.

With the Work Programme shrouded in secrecy it is impossible to know for sure exactly what Salvation Army does.  However since they boast of referring people to work placements on their website it is quite likely that they not only make use of workfare slaves, but make money out of referring people, under threat of benefit sanction, to unpaid work.

Sadly Salvation Army are not the only homeless charity involved in forced labour and sanctioning vulnerable claimants. The full list of Work Programme sub-contracters can be viewed at: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wp-supply-chains.pdf

The following homeless charities are listed as sub-contracters to the Work Programme.  As part of this weekend’s online action against workfare why not tell them what you think:

St Mungos (@stmungos) are Work Programme sub-contracters across London,they are on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/StMungosUK and can be contacted at: info@mungos.org

The St Giles Trust are on twitter @stgilestrust on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/St-Giles-Trust/108464042506076?ref=mf and can be contacted at this page: http://www.stgilestrust.org.uk/s/contact-us/p506/contact-st-giles-trust.html

Broadway Homelessness and Support can be contacted on twitter @broadwaycharity, and on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/broadwaycharity where they can be seen sucking up to Chris Grayling here.

Finally SHP (formerly Single Homeless Project) don’t appear to be on twitter or facebook but you can find contact details at: http://www.shp.org.uk/content/contact-us

Shelter claim to have pulled out of Work Programme, although it is not clear whether this applies to voluntary staff within the organisation, or as sub-contracters for the scheme.  You can ask them @shelter

Along with the big disability charities, all of these organisations provide mandated activity, which could include workfare.  If their users fail to attend appointments, training, or full time work they will face benefit sanctions.  Many homeless people have mental health problems and often complex health needs.  These are some of the people most vulnerable to sanctions, and they can have a truly devastating effect.  Housing Benefit is usually stopped automatically when a sanction is applied  Whilst people can re-apply this often takes some time and for those in vulnerable housing or who have rent arrears, this can mean homelessness.

Just like the disability charities, these organisations have decided that what is best for their balance sheet is also best for their service users.  Basic morality has been twisted out of all proportion in the search for hard cash.  Benefit sanctions and mandated work effectively amount to fines and community service for vulnerable people, dished out not after a criminal trial, but on the whims of Job Centre advisors and charity staff.

Workfare has become so endemic amongst charities that some have even spoken of a carrot and stick approach to working with the vulnerable, as if they have a right to beat their users.  These charities should be the most vocal in condemning this Government’s vicious assault on the vulnerable, the sick and the poor.  Instead they have happily signed contracts under which they are forbidden from criticising workfare schemes.

Along with the disability organisations and all the other charities involved in Work Programme, the homelessness charities should stand together and demand sanctions be dropped from all Welfare to Work schemes or they will have nothing more to do with this abusive scheme.

It is a damning indictment of the charitable sector when Tesco, Burger King and HMV appear to be greater defenders of the rights of vulnerable people than St Mungos and the Salvation Army.  The truth is Tesco pulled out for the same reason St Mungos are staying in.

It’s all about the money.

(above pic from: http://occupyallstreets.tumblr.com/post/17119476761)