Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Archive for the ‘Flexible New Deal’ Category

End of welfare to work?

A4e Work Programme dismal results 

It appears all that is needed for A4e is the final nail in the coffin, not only have A4e selected where to rest, the type of coffin and jumped in.. it has even put the lid on! They might have even planned and paid for the funeral.

What has once been a few fraud allegations and four arrests has been growing due to A4e stupidity. This began back in 2010 just before David Cameron appointed her. Emma Harrison CBE, got cocky – some would say too cocky – after the big relationship with the Government landed her an role paid in kind by opening doors for more contracts. A sort of gentleman’s agreement. Yes, Emma is a woman although a tom boy type – only female using chairman instead of chairperson. She plays a lot on it ffs Emma, there is women in business too!!

A4e, despite a large turnover, and nice profits, is a very poorly run enterprise. Criticised for every aspect of delivery (or lack of). Most popular in 2010 was failing to file business accounts (so did YMCA Training), losing peoples personal information, another fraud enquiry hotting up and if that wasn’t enough Emma Harrison CBE opened her big mouth saying cuts are fantastic!

A4e got fined a record £60,000 for the data security breach. Emma Harrison got appointed to work for the Government for free (in kind for contracts for A4e aka corruption). She upset a few people with her comments before trying to claim she never said the words or knew the person who did. Something along the lines of the person who wrote the story didn’t know her and never met her – the same can be said for me, I have never met her – doesn’t change the facts being reported here.

So at this point it wasn’t looking too good for A4e: fraud, fines, bad publicity, and doubt. They got away with it for another year or two… or so they thought. Previously been investigated and found guilty of fraud – they thought it would again be swept under the carpet so no one would notice. Indeed one wouldn’t, except it was clearly visible under the carpet… line a big hill or mountain.

They in effect created a time bomb, the problems didn’t go away, although the criticism died down for a while. It just got more intense waiting for the shit to hit the fan! In 2010, people had patience with A4e, it seems its growing thin now even with politicians.

What else went wrong? Emma Harrison CBE was greedy… she decided to pay herself (and other shareholders) a bumped dividend. All fair and well, (from a private company perspective, not performance/taxpayer perspective) but was at the wrong time. She couldn’t have any control over timing, so its fate. Appears her luck has run out forcing her to step down from A4e.

We will get to the Work Programme figures in a little while!!

Then what could get worse? A4e deploying PHA Media, a PR agency not solicitor, trying to censorship the internet and silence people it sees as a threat. Emma Harrison CBE threatening to sue everyone who stands in A4e’s way. Paying money into 2 companies and a pension fund for hiring out her home for meetings – which might be money laundering and tax evasion. And as recently, publishing statistics against DWP’s wishes, and hundreds of other documents; some of which are entitled “PRIVATE” in the filename without any other form of protection/security.

A4e cannot be trusted with taxpayer money, its own data OR jobseekers personal information!
Read the rest of this entry »

A4e history exposed

Surprise surprise, prior to getting down to business… I will take this opportunity to expose the lying scum A4e really is. Rewind to Flexible New Deal… lets hear a statement from A4e Emma Harrison CBE herself.

It is out of the Flexible New Deal booklet titled “Welcome Aboard – your journey starts here!” with reference code CLNT001. Here it goes…

Hello… we’re delighted to have you with us.

Whatever your employment history has been like up to now, we’ll be able to improve your prospects for finding work. All it takes is for you to be as determined as we are that you’ll succeed.

Not everyone starts life with great opportunities and encouragement. But now we’re here, every step of the way, to help you reach your full potential.

That may involve you acquiring new skills. It may also mean getting help with things not directly linked with employment, such as debt management. Because we know that what holds people back is often nothing to do with their ability to work.

Our system of training, confidence-boosting and mentoring really works. We’ve been so successful at helping people to find employment, we now employ 3,500 ourselves. Across four continents.

A4e (or Action for Employment, as we were then) was originally set up in the ‘80s to help redundant steelworkers in Sheffield retrain for other careers.  We’ve lost count of the number of people we’ve help back into employment since then. And that’s mainly because it happens every 10 minutes of every working day. Right across the world. From Sheffield – where out headquarters remain to this day – all the way to Sydney.

The figures are so impressive because we never treat our customers themselves like statistics. We work with you to achieve your own individual goals.

Glad to have you’re here. And good luck!


Chairman, A4e

Okay, we really do not need to explain how patronising lies the above nonsense is. I am sure they lost count of the actual number of “people” (that is physical human beings). I hope there isn’t a fraud every 10 minutes! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Universal Jobmatch

February 27, 2012 at 9:28 am

Work Programme in Disarray: Up the Ante!

With ‘Work Experience’ programmes in disarray now is the time to up the ante: Fight the plans for Workfare as a central part of the Dole!

Ipswich Unemployed Action, formed in 2009,  has protested against these schemes since they first appeared.

We have supported

  • Decent benefits for all – a raise so people are not forced into poverty and debt.
  • No compulsion on back-t0-work schemes.
  • Measures to stop the bullying and exploitation of claimants.
  •  Genuine training  – not just the endless ‘job preparation’ courses that we all get.
  • If we can’t find work the government should create real jobs of community use, paid for at the minimum wage, and the ‘rate for the job’.

As work experience schemes for the under 25s are collapsing, we learn that A4E are being investigated for fraud.

This, we suspect on the basis of what we hear about how many of the companies involved in the Unemployment Business operate, , is the tip of the Iceberg.

We are pleasantly suprised to hear that the public is turning against this profitable industry.

That they want people paid for their work – not workfare.

So we now should campaign against:

  • The remaining unpaid work experience providers – especially government ones.
  • All providers for the Mandatory Work Activity – workfare.
  • All providers bidding for the Community Action Programme – 6 months workfare.

Johnny Void offers some Companies and Charities to start with Here. 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 22, 2012 at 10:57 am

Cait Reilly and the History of UK Workfare.


Support this Campaign (see Box Bottom Right for link).

The Cait Reilly case has brought workfare (unpaid work for benefits)  to people’s attention.

Some seem to think this is a new policy.

Red Pepper reports,

Karina was mandated to work in Primark under New Labour’s Flexible New Deal. She had been sent to a private ‘welfare to work’ provider whose regime included putting claimants to work without pay in businesses, charity shops and public sector workplaces. Although regulations meant that she could only be obliged to work for up to 12 weeks without pay, she worked for 24 weeks, fearing she would have her benefits stopped if she did not agree. She had signed up to and paid for a college course that would help her find work but she had to give it up to do the placement: ‘They told me they would stop my JSA, so I stopped my English course.’

This sytem  began with the New Deal in 1998.

This is what the programme offered, (Wikipedia),

The NDYP begins with an initial consultation session, referred to as Gateway, that focuses on improving job search and interview skills. This training is provided by an external organisation such as a4e, CSV or YMCATraining. If the search for employment is still unsuccessful after the Gateway sessions, to continue to receive unemployment benefits, one of four options must be chosen:

• A subsidised job placement. The subsidy is £60 per week, and lasts 6 months; a £750 training allowance is also available to participants. Clients are paid a wage from the employer.

• Full-time education and training, for up to 12 months.

• Work in the voluntary sector, the client is paid JSA plus a £15 training allowance. This is called Community Task Force.

• Work with the Environmental Task Force.(DWP website; Peck, “Workfare” 304; Glyn 53)

Participation in one of the four options is mandatory to receive benefits, refusal to participate will lead to the benefit being stopped and will be referred to a Decision Maker who will decide whether a recipient should receive a sanction should they decide to reclaim.”

Gateway normally meant some CV writing (highly useful) job application and interview techniques (also useful).

It could also included less useful ‘courses’ including those based on the kind of self-help manuals that made Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus school of thought.

Despite appearing to offer a number of ‘options’ most people were put, without any choice, on the 3rd (I know nobody who did the first, which meant they got paid). Placements were rapidly extended beyond the ‘voluntary sector’ and the ‘Community Task Force’. They included working in local government, and private companies.

Why did people participate?

‘Work experience’ might be useful (for your CV for example). There was always the possibility of paid work. But more important perhaps was that getting an extra £15 and doing something was preferable to sitting in a room being hectored and told, 5 days a week, to do “job search”.

These Placements lasted from 13 weeks to 26 weeks.

I know personally cases of people of working in Ipswich warehouse-mega-stores shelving and carrying stuff around. One told me that his boss bought him a couple of drinks at Christmas – as well he might.

Charities and the ‘voluntary sector’ might seem a good idea. The Labour Government began farming out welfare services to them. The unemployed were used instead of paid employees – when they were not working alongside people sentenced to do Community Service.  Or, in Ipswich, working alongside prisoners on day release from Hollesley Bay.

Without the rights of salaried employees the unemployed were open to a wide range of abuses. Charites (often with highly paid executives) and the Third Sector are not always good employers.

I know of a number of significant cases where people felt ill-treated.

In nearly all cases when the Placement ended there was no job.

The attitude is thank you very much and now for the next placement-person.

The Flexible New Deal was introduced in October 2009.  James Purnell Work and Pensions Secretary was behind the change, though he had to resign that years when his expenses claims were found out.  

The Flexible New Deal reduced the time of Placements to 6 weeks. It got rid of the ‘sitting in front of a computer doing job search’ (though not the ‘courses’). It abolished the £15 bonus.

But the slide towards using the unemployed as free labour became more explicit.

They also used ‘volunteers’ from the Dole in place of genuine volunteers.

The Work Programme was introduced last summer. On this site Worky has explored its details.

Cait Reilly appears to have got into one of its programmes, a 2 week placement.

There is already the Mandatory Work Activity to punish people – which we have discussed here.

The plan now to make everyone who is unemployed for over 2 years participate in the Community Action Programme.

This is full-time unpaid workfare.

When it’s introduced it will be used to fill the gaps in public services – caused by the Liberal-Conservative Coalition cuts.

That is “picking up litter”  tidying up parks, and no doubt carrying all kinds of tasks not getting done because of government cuts.

It will be US style workfare.

There is conclusive evidence against workfare – here.

But, as reactions to Cait Reilly show, there are people in this country who simply want to order the out-of-work around, and make them sweat.

Something that Lord Freud, a former banker and wheeler-dealer, the man who advised the Labour Government on the Flexible New Deal and now, the Coalition on the Work Programme, has only ever done in a Sauna.

Conservatives keep Work for Your Benefit scheme dormant

Our sister site Work Programme Network reported some time ago how the Work for Your Benefit Regulations are still active although the pilots have been scrapped, but we can reveal that the Government is aiming to address this legislation. However, it isn’t all as positive as we would hope.

The Conservatives are creating a new employment scheme called the “Mandatory Work Activity Scheme” which basically is the Mandatory Work Related Activity period from Flexible New Deal renamed, however, it is stand alone and although it may (although unlikely) be part of the upcoming Work Programme – it is designed so Jobseeker Allowance (JSA) claimants can be placed onto the mandatory scheme after being given notice – which in theory could be from day 1.

The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Mandatory Work Activity Scheme) Regulations 2011 made on the 9th March 2011 and laid before Parliament on the 14th March 2011, will come in to force from the 25th April 2011.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Universal Jobmatch

April 3, 2011 at 10:16 am