“Decent employment is the best anti-poverty strategy and it’s time to be more imaginative about progressive education and training for unemployed people so that we can get through the recession and prepare for better economic conditions…Working with people who might be left behind (is) an economic and social imperative.”
This is common sense, surely?
Allegations of major fraud and exploitation in welfare to work schemes have hit the headlines in recent months with businesses such as A4E and Working Links being investigated. Now there has been adverse publicity about stewards’ work placements at the Jubilee river pageant. Various media reports claim that some unpaid security staff had to work in appalling conditions.
These apparent problems are set against even bigger issues about the overarching Work Programme and welfare to work schemes.
The Work Programme’s model is one of payment by results. Organisations working with unemployed people are only paid after their clients have completed a specified period in a job. Many experienced charities and community organisations with proven track records of moving people into work are squeezed out of the process as they can’t deal with the cash-flow problems and risk. Ironically the charity Groundwork South West took the gamble of taking on a Work Programme contract but ended up making 130 of its own staff redundant (according to the Guardian, Saturday…
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