Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Private Eye: Ipswich Unemployed Action Exposes A4E Fiddle.

with 6 comments

In the latest Private Eye,

“Welfare-to-work contractor A4E has found a  new way to make money from the government’s struggling Work programme: claim bonuses for people who already have jobs.

The programme supposedly pays by results, giving cash to firms like A4E only when they get claimants off the dole. The government considers claimants ‘attached’ to A4E and co for such purposes only once they have had an interview. But internal A4E memos obtained by claimants group Ipswich Unemployed Action earlier this year included the instruction that as long as they grab claimants for an interview up to the day before starting a job, “you will be eligible for the attachment fee and any subsequent outcome/sustainment payments.”

The original post, by Work Programme:

Is fraud in welfare to work a thing of the past?

Ipswich Unemployed Action can reveal that since the Work Programme commenced the DWP has sent memos out to providers at least THRICE (3 times) to clarify particulars in particular relating to job outcomes and attachment fees that are already readily available and clearly set out in the contract and guidance.

It appears some providers are making claims with irregularities – we aren’t suggesting this is fraud; it could be a common mistake without intent of malice; but appears to be rather widespread.

A4e (in particular its employees) has been found guilty of fraud on New Deal and Flexible New Deal… can they now make the triple and make it the Work Programme also? (Yes, they had more contracts than these, for the purposes of this thrice should suffice?)

Private Eye goes on to note that the DWP gives £400 for each “attachment” followed by amounts from £4,000 to £13,000 if the attached person stays in work for two years,

The rest of the article suggests that A4E have been handing out £50 vouchers to the unemployed to sign up for their programme – as well they might!

“The DWP seems happy with this state of affairs”.

Margaret Hodge, chair of the Commons public accounts committee, has taken these issues up.

Asked about this “wheeze” DWP Permanent Secretary, Robert Devereux claimed to have “relatively tight rules” about such things. He added that the contractor may not have helped people in this position get a job but they could perhaps  “assist the claimant in staying in work…”

The Eye concludes by noting the crisis in the Work Programme.

“Making these apparently unjustified payments may be a way of bailing out a failing scheme.”

Watching A4E reports this story, gracefully failing to mention Ipswich Unemployed Action’s role in the exposé.

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Written by Andrew Coates

July 26, 2012 at 10:07 am

6 Responses

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  1. Scottish graduates ‘told to dumb down CVs’

    Jobcentre staff have advised university graduates to “dumb down” their CVs in order to find work, a survey has suggested.

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said two-thirds of the students it surveyed found the Jobcentre unhelpful in finding work.

    And only 1% said it was helpful in finding graduate-level work.

    The Department of Work and Pensions said advisers would not tell candidates to lie about their qualifications.

    A spokeswoman said: “With any job application, our advisers will recommend that the candidate tailors the presentation of their skills and experience to the job they are applying for.”

    CAS said many graduates were apparently told by Jobcentre staff that their qualifications actually deterred employers and advised to leave degrees off their CVs altogether to secure “survival jobs”.

    The CAS report, Degrees Of Insecurity, surveyed 1,000 Scottish graduates to discover how they have coped in the recession.

    Three-fifths felt they were poorly advised about their career while still at school and about two-fifths (43%) said their university failed to prepare them for work.

    About a quarter (23%) were unemployed for up to a year after leaving university, while one in 10 could not find a job for at least 18 months, according to the survey.

    One 25-year-old law graduate told CAS: “At the (Jobcentre) group meetings we were encouraged to leave any degree off the CV to help us find more plentiful unskilled work. Nobody would employ me as a cleaner if I had a degree. I was told to stop looking for graduate work and take a ‘survival’ job.”

    A 25-year-old art history graduate said: “The Jobcentre was not interested in my degree. Frequently they seemed to suggest that, if anything, my qualification and level of education were a deterrent to possible future employers.”

    CAS chief executive Margaret Lynch said: “Having been told a degree was the key to a successful and prosperous life, and having worked hard and sacrificed a lot to get one, many have become entrenched instead in a culture of unemployment or low wages and short-term contracts.

    “It’s heart-rending to read so many accounts of people, once full of hope for the future, who feel their lives are on hold. Some are even questioning whether it was worth the time, money and effort they put into getting their degrees.

    “We would never say that a degree is not worthwhile but this survey reveals in stark detail the extent of the crisis that many graduates are facing.”

    CAS has called for students and graduates to be given much more support when they move from graduation into work.

    A Department of Work and Pensions spokeswoman responded: “There’s lots of help out there for jobseekers, including young people and graduates. Jobcentre Plus advisers can help with skills and training, work experience is available for those who need it and the New Enterprise Allowance helps claimants set up their own business.”
    ‘Constant negativity’

    And Alastair Sim, director of Universities Scotland, said: “The results of the Citizens Advice survey are statistically invalid. The survey, and all media coverage to promote it, was deliberately and unashamedly targeted at graduates who have struggled to find work.

    “Therefore, it is completely unrepresentative of the graduate population as a whole and paints a far more negative picture than is actually the case.

    “There is no denying that the recession has had a negative impact on all young people and graduates have not been immune. However, national statistics on graduate destinations from HESA show that despite tough times 93% of graduates from Scotland go on to positive destinations within only six months of graduating and of those in jobs, over two-thirds are entering directly into professional and managerial jobs.

    “Constant negativity around young peoples’ prospects can be damagingly de-motivational and may dissuade learners from pursuing the university studies which will give them the best possible prospects in a tough economy.”

    Scottish Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance said Scotland had the highest rate of graduate employment in the UK.

    She added: “More than 90% of Scottish students graduating in 2010-11 went onto employment or further study, with graduates from Scottish universities also reporting the highest average starting salary in the UK at £21,000.”

    NUS Scotland president Robin Parker said: “Getting a degree remains a huge advantage for getting a job and still very worthwhile more generally. It’s those without qualifications or with low-level qualifications that will be worst off in this unemployment crisis”.

    Article here.

    BBC

    July 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm

  2. So what does a graduate put on their CV to explain the sudden 3 or 4 years “gap” when they were actually studying?

    Would adding a fictional claim for the dole to fill the period work better for them than admitting they were in higher education?

    Lucy

    July 28, 2012 at 8:58 am

    • Personally I’d be also worried about putting anything about having been on the Work Programme on a CV.

      Anybody who’s been sanctioned by having to go on Mandatory Work Activity will be marked for life.

      Andrew Coates

      July 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

  3. Slight change of subject here.

    Vulnerable ESA claimants who do not attend work related Jobcentre interviews will face even tougher sanctions when the latest punitive attack is lauched on them this Autumn by Ian Duncan Smith.

    The following comments are taken from a story in The Guardian:

    “Duncan Smith’s revenge on ESA claimants is nigh: a jobcentre informer tells me new rules in the autumn will tell staff to cut all benefit from any ESA claimant missing an appointment. Since they are all sick or mentally ill, there is a 30% no-show rate: “Given the high level of vulnerability and chaos in their lives, this will be a disaster for many.” It will leave them utterly destitute”.

    The full story is here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/19/work-programme-charity-bankrupt

    Tobanem

    July 28, 2012 at 9:23 am

  4. Its all a money making sham

    susan

    January 15, 2013 at 10:49 pm


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