Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘politics

Audits for G4S and SERCO.

The justice secretary is to allow two security companies to bid for Ministry of Justice contracts despite both facing alleged fraud investigations over existing deals.

Chris Grayling has not ruled Serco and G4S out of the running for new MoJ contracts, which include the £800m privatisation of most probation services.

But he has for the first time assured his Labour counterpart, Sadiq Khan, that no new contracts will be awarded to either company until a series of official “forensic audits” has given them a clean bill of health.

The official publication of invitations to bid for the privatisation of the bulk of the probation service is due soon. Both companies are leading contenders for the payment-by-results contracts under which 235,000 offenders are to be supervised each year. City analysts see few other large-scale players able or willing to bid for the work if Serco and G4S are excluded. Guardian.

It’s worth noting that the gang running SERCO delivers two Work Programme contracts on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions in:

  • Coventry and Warwickshire, Staffordshire and The Marches; and
  • South Yorkshire.

The chancers running G4S supply security staff for Job Centres.

These are the people now delivering ‘public’ services.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 18, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Deloitte and the Work Programme.

Solomon Hughes writes in the Morning Star today,

This week the Times had a gripping report about Deloitte, the accountants who are supposed to get everybody following the rules, apparently twisting the rules to stop people getting compensation.

Lloyds TSB tricked people into buying useless payment protection insurance on its loans. This is a vast scandal, with the bank cheating customers out of cash on an industrial scale.

So far Lloyds has paid £4.3 billion to 1.3 million customers it conned.

Lloyds hired Deloitte to run one of its PPI claims offices, processing letters from people who were tricked by the bank into buying useless insurance.

Deloitte added insult to injury by obstructing their compensation claims.

This was good journalism by Times journalist James Dean. But it has a wider significance because Deloitte doesn’t just bamboozle bank customers.


This is available from their own site,

Ingeus Deloitte joint venture

The Work Programme

From June 2011 the Department for Work and Pensions’ flagship Work Programme will replace many of the welfare-to-work programmes currently being delivered across the UK.

The Work Programme, based on a partnership between government and providers from across the public, private and third sectors, seeks to bring a new dynamic to welfare-to-work in the UK and aims to support more people to move from benefits into lasting employment.

A joint venture between leading welfare-to-work provider, Ingeus UK Limited, and professional services firm, Deloitte, has been selected as a ‘preferred supplier’ under the DWP’s Framework for the Provision of Employment Related Support Services. The joint venture has submitted tenders to deliver the Work Programme as a prime provider in seven regions across the UK.

The Ingeus and Deloitte joint venture is also developing services in other areas, such as education, skills and training, and health and wellbeing.

The joint venture combines Ingeus’ strong track record of delivering high-quality employability services with Deloitte’s expertise and capability in public service delivery, particularly with regard to supply chain management and large-scale programme implementation.

Solomon Hughes continues,

eloitte helps to run Iain Duncan Smith’s programme for the unemployed in partnership with an Australian company, trading as Ingeus.

Its Work Programme contracts are worth a staggering £773 million.

When the first Work Programme performance figures were published last November, every one of Deloitte’s benefit-busting contracts failed to meet “minimum performance levels.”

It couldn’t get 5 per cent of its unemployed clients into work.

The Department for Work and Pensions estimated that 5 per cent would find work without their help, so Deloitte’s Ingeus were literally worse than nothing.

This is no surprise. Deloitte’s Ingeus also got loads of work on benefit-busting contracts from the last Labour government.

They were inspected by Ofsted, which found “inadequate” outcomes in five out of six schemes.

Ofsted’s description of the schemes sounds a little like Dean’s description of the PPI sweatshop.

Ofsted said: “The delivery of information is over-reliant on trainer-led presentations and is often uninspiring.”

The jobless had “insufficient access to computers, which they regularly require for jobsearch activities. They often have to wait for long periods to access them.”

Staff were especially bad at helping unemployed folk with health problems.

Deloitte’s benefit-busters have responded to its Work Programme failure by punishing the unemployed. It has high rates of “sanctioning” – that is, it keeps telling the DWP to stop the benefits of claimants on its scheme.

So money flows from the taxpayer to Deloitte via Ingeus without ever helping the unemployed, who often lose benefits in the process.

Deloitte’s reliance on taxpayer cash is especially galling as it advises big corporations on how to avoid tax.

 So how does Deloitte, a firm that seems to twist the rules it is supposed to uphold, thrive?

The answer is the same as for all the Unemployment Business.

In part it’s because it likes to give money to influential people. To widespread disgust, it gave former Revenue and Customs boss Dave Hartnett a job as an adviser.


Deloitte likes boasting about capturing politicians and officials. In 2009 it announced “the appointment of Lord Warner as a strategic adviser to its public-sector practice,” with particular focus on “health and social care.”

Norman Warner was a Labour health minister. Deloitte said: “Lord Warner’s wealth of experience in formulating and delivering successful health and social care policies will be invaluable to our clients.”

Under Warner, the Labour government mortgaged many hospitals under PFI schemes. This was disastrous for the NHS, but made millions for accountants like Deloitte.

Deloitte boasted that hiring Warner “follows a series of high-profile business appointments.”

They included hiring Nick Prior, the head of the Ministry of Defence private finance unit, where he too organised many accountant-enriching but poorly performing PFI contracts.

Deloitte also made friends by giving the Conservatives around £430,000 worth of staff help since 2009. This included a member of staff in Chris Grayling’s office when he helped to draw up the plans for the Work Programme.

You get the message…

Written by Andrew Coates

June 14, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Sanctions Report: Questions Unanswered.

An internal inquiry at the Department for Work and Pensions into the covert regime of welfare targets at jobcentres says it has found no evidence of the practice – yet it accepts that action is taken against those jobcentres that do not sanction benefits as much as others.

Reports the Guardian today.

This follows this (from Watching A4E),

In the last few weeks, DWP have been preparing the final statistics to the end of January and extending some of the tables to show new measures. These activities have exposed some significant doubts around the quality of the statistics relating to the new regime.

Consequently, to avoid a potentially misleading statistical release, JSA sanction statistics will not be released on 15 May.

DWP will perform further quality assurance activities on this new series and will publish as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it is not possible to commit to a definite date at the moment, but a proposed publication date will be announced in advance via

The Guardian continues,

The report also says some jobcentre staff are sometimes given personal targets, but only after being disciplined.

The internal report otherwise gives the DWP a clean bill of health, saying: “We found no evidence of a secret national regime of targets, or widespread secret imposition of local regimes to that effect. There is no national use of league tables. We found no evidence people are being wrongly sanctioned as a consequence.”

The article notes,

In recent months the Guardian has repeatedly found signs of a targets culture in the administration of benefits, and has reported on at least 16 jobcentres around the country involved in a drive to kick people off benefits, amid pressure to meet welfare targets set by their managers.

The DWP initially dismissed any suggestion of this, but last month said the practice had been going on in some offices due to a misunderstanding between the department and some jobcentre managers, and that this was no longer the case.

Now we come to the rub

The internal DWP report – written by the senior DWP manager responsible for the regime, Neil Couling – says benefit advisers can be given disciplinary warnings that contain a reference to what level of benefit might on average be expected.

This ‘internal report’ – that is not for the public or those signing-on – is we underline, dealing with decisions that affect people’s lives in the most serious way possible.

These warnings – known as personal improvement plans (PIPs) inside the DWP – “should be very clear about the consequences of an individual not fulfilling the personal responsibilities as a civil servant to administer the system in full”.

Are they? It’s the first we’ve heard of how they decide on how to “personally improve” our behaviour.

Couling argues that: “There is an important difference though in setting an individual target, which is not acceptable, and giving an individual an idea about what might be expected in their local labour market and for their size of caseload as an aid to judging whether the law is being properly applied. PIPs that make these references will be appropriate and do not constitute a local target or benchmark. That is a subtle difference that I suspect some advisers can struggle with.”

In an effort to explain the existence of tables – which were passed to the Guardian – showing how many claimants are sanctioned per benefit office, the internal report claims that these lists do not represent “league tables”.

They are no doubt merely lists, like lists for things you get at Liddle. Without consquence.

Or not,

Couling explains: “Management information is collected on referral rates and decision outcomes. This is used to assure managers that conditionality referrals are being done appropriately. Where an outlier is identified, whether that is high or low, managers collect evidence to explain these figures and where justified, no further action is taken.

“Should there be any issue of inappropriate use or non-compliance with the conditionality and sanctions legislation; staff should be supported to correctly impose conditionality with the use of personal improvement plan (PIP) and line manager support”.

“Staff should be supported to correctly impose conditionality” – what a phrase!

That is, they are told how to make somebody’s life a misery by taking away their benefits.

In the specific case of Walthamstow job centre, where managers demanded that staff increase sanctions or face disciplinary action, the report finds: “The language, tone and contents of the email were simply wrong and an inappropriate communication channel was used. The particular reference to a local DMA [decision-making and appeals] target of 5% was neither necessary nor accurate and appropriate.”

So if there was a 5% target.

No amount of mealy-mouthed rubbish about “neither necessary nor accurate and appropriate” can hide that.

Couling wrote: “Our wider review of the evidence suggests a limited number of other locations where errors of this type were also made.”

In other words the practice was more widespread.

By how much they refuse to reveal.

The report also refers to the 16 cases raised by the Guardian, and shows no evidence that any independent inquiries were made. In most of the 16 cases, Couling accepts errors of one sort or another had occurred.

Addressing the issue of whether league tables are routinely exchanged inside the DWP and Jobcentre Plus, he said: “It would be technically possible to configure management information into a league table (a simple manipulation of Excel) but as the leak showed, it is not in a league table.”

Not a league Table?

It was clearly a comparative table, which could be seen in this way, as the following jargon-riddled statement indicates,

But the report admits: “We have found a limited number of instances where a local manager has misinterpreted the instructions or has fallen back on target methodology in an effort to exercise their responsibilities to ensure the law is being properly applied. I believe that is happening because the cultural change underpinning the move away is incomplete.”

Couling claims the recent reports are the residue of a previous, now-abandoned, targets regime and staff imposing targets. “We need to be vigilant and consistent to ensure junior managers continue to move away from legacy habits as we focus on building the freedom and flexibility approach. We are using these incidents and the recent press coverage to redouble our efforts.”

Please note, the “freedom and flexibility approach” means giving great power to advisers to reduce people to destitution by “sanctioning” them

Couling also promised to publish at regular intervals figures on sanction referral by jobcentres.

See above on the DWP not publishing statistics.

The conclusion is this,

The issue will also now be investigated by the work and pensions select committee. The work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has also set up an independent year-long inquiry about the treatment of jobseeker’s allowance claimants.

The inquiry “will evaluate, where a claimant has failed to participate, how the sanctioning process then worked. This will include reviewing the clarity of information given to claimants to help them navigate this process.

“This will include what information was provided to explain that they can avoid a sanction by showing good cause and that they can apply for a review or appeal if a sanction is imposed.”

There is no space for people to ask:

  • Is it right that the DWP and Job Advisers have such arbitrary power over people’s benefits?
  • Whether it is right to give Work Programme Contractors auxiliary powers of this nature?
  • How on earth people are expected to live on the money they get when they are “sanctioned”?

Benefit Cap: Eviction Notices from Genesis in London. When will Genesis Ipswich Follow?

Tenants participating in a trial of the government’s controversial benefit cap are being sent eviction letters because the welfare changes mean they “may not be able to afford the rent” and they may have to leave their homes within 14 days, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.

The article continues,

The letter from Genesis says it has been forced into taking these steps because of the “significant changes being currently introduced to the welfare benefit system”. The letter warns that, if the tenants do not offer a defence, a court can force eviction within 14 days.


A spokesperson for Genesis at first denied that letters had been sent out. When confronted with the text of the letter, the social landlord, which manages about 30,000 homes across London and south-east England, said there had been a “cack-handed attempt” to explain the situation in Haringey to “some clients”. “That letter should not have been written that way. We are working with tenants in Haringey to help them out of arrears.”

Genesis is present in Ipswich.

SG has secured phase one of a major urban regeneration project in the historic docklands area of Ipswich, bringing new homes and commercial accommodation to the town. The initial £15 million contract with Genesis Housing Association focuses on the delivery of 386 affordable and Extra Care houses, with ISG also working towards the detailed design and costing of the full scheme, which is expected to be in the region of £36 million.

Just in case evictions take place here Genesis helps provide a local Ipswich service for the homeless,

The Council and Genesis Housing Association provides 12 emergency cold weather beds at Cavendish Lodge in Turret Lane, while local churches are also supplying a winter bed service for people in need.

Meanwhile the Genesis CEO gets £200, 000 a year (Here)

Universal Credit Web Site Can’t Spell and Barely Works.

The Guardian reports,

The first step of the claim form for the government’s flagship welfare reform initiative, billed as the biggest change to the benefits system for 60 years, invites people to input a security code, “seperating” each word with a space.

Council staff and CAB advisers initially had some difficulty navigating beyond the welcome page as they tried to familiarise themselves with the system and found the password entry stage was temporarily stuck.

“I’m not saying it’s not working,” a council staff member said, flustered as she tried to demonstrate the system. “But we have a display error.” The issue resolved itself half an hour later, and staff concluded that it was probably a local problem rather than an issue with the DWP computer system.

Advisers were worried about the absence of a save function on the process (which takes up to 45 minutes to complete), meaning that if a claimant paused to get extra information and was logged off, they would need to start again. Staff said they hoped this would be resolved before the programme was rolled out nationwide for new claimants from October.

This is not the end of the problems Universal Credit will cause.

The Morning Star notes,

 Critics have warned the scheme threatens heavy sanctions for people who are already working.

Those in minimum-waged, part-time jobs of less than 35 hours a week risk losing their benefit unless they attend job interviews with as little as 48 hours’ notice.

The regulations can even compel a worker to quit the job they have for one with slightly more hours, on pain of freezing their benefit.

And the Minister in charge says he,

 would also freeze people’s benefits if they tried to secure higher wages through industrial action.

“Striking is a choice and in future benefit claimants will have to pay the price for that choice – as under universal credit, we no longer will,” he said.

There are plenty of critics,

TUC regional secretary Lynn Collins said the raft of sanctions and hoops would “only worsen the gap between the haves and have-nots.

“This is a crackpot scheme which is designed to cut payments to the most vulnerable people and the working poor,” she said.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 30, 2013 at 10:51 am