Archive for December, 2011

Merry Christmas

and a prosperous New Year


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MSPs refuse changes to the UK benefits system.

MSPs have formally protested against changes to the UK benefits system.

SNP and Labour members of the Scottish Parliament took the unprecedented step of voting against a Westminster “consent” motion.

It is important to be aware that whilst Holyrood cannot prevent Westminster changing the welfare benefits system. The UK government needs Holyrood to allow it to change the law so its reforms would fit the Scottish system.

  • The UK government explained that the Welfare Reform Bill would save billions of pounds by replacing Disability Living Allowance with a personal independence payment and replacing a range of other benefits with a single universal credit.

The changes will have a knock-on effect for devolved services such as social care and devolved entitlements such as free school meals.

MSPs voted to turn down Westminster’s consent request in favour of making the necessary legal changes themselves.

It is the first time Holyrood has refused Westminster legislative consent.

SNP and Labour MSPs voted 100 to 18 to refuse to back the necessary legislative consent motion on parts of the UK government’s Welfare Reform Bill where the Scottish Parliament has legislative competence.

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YPLA 16-19 statement

More than 30,000 extra 16-19 education places will be funded next year to cope with the raising of the participation age to 17 in 2013.

The Funding Statement released by the The Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA) set out the funding available for 16-19 education and training for 2012-13 and shows the government plans to fund 1,577,000 places.

The government has also set out its capital funding for 16-19 provision, including more than £107 million available to meet maintenance and building needs of sixth form colleges and demographic pressures for new 16-19 places in schools, academies and sixth form colleges.

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A new Academy is being founded in Hackney.

STEM Academy is being founded by S&DA Limited, a not for profit company with existing strong links with Industry, apprenticeships, secondary and higher education.

The proposed Academy will open in Hackne. Its first student intake in September 2013 will cater for 16-19 year olds with an emphasis on supporting students from deprived areas in Hackney and the wider London area. Located on “Silicon Roundabout”, the Academy will be at the heart of a thriving area for entrepreneurship and high tech businesses, including Google, supported by the Government’s ‘East London Tech City’ initiative.

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Background Statement for The STEM Academy – V3 1 General for Yes minister blog 2


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The man, the Myth, the legend.

Richard Johnson has left the stage…..

It is indeed true to say, that under the leadership of Richard Johnson, Serco launched itself financially but more importantly, emotionally into the welfare to work sector.

The Batman and Robin duo of Messrs Johnson and Williams strutted impressive figures on the W2W stage.

Serco made its mark during FND1, however it was during FND2 that Serco did indeed begin to soar like an eagle.

I have to declare an interest here… yesMinister were heavily involved and embedded with the Serco team during FND2.. in fact we were indistinguishable and fitted seamlessly into the team which the dynamic duo had put together… by the way we were also paid on time – this bodes well for Serco’s supply chain!!

The ethical Monolith

Having worked in the sector from the TEC days it was reassuring for me to see and hear high ethics and commendable aspirations being enunciated from within the belly of the monolith which is Serco. What was said internally was communicated externally … there were no double messages, hedged bets, or duplicitous actions… this made it easy for Serco but even easier for yesMinister to engage with Serco and its supply chain.

Pastures New

Richard has gone on to pastures new but lets be clear… many Prime contractors stood quietly whilst Richard expounded on the pros and cons of the new commissioning framework, on the impact of payment by results on providers, beneficiaries – now there’s a word that’s rarely used -, and government. Richard has indeed been a ‘critical friend’;  many have silently benefited from his insights. Richard definitely applied his skills of oratory, his attention to detail and his ability to discern which was bolstered by his confidence in the research that his team had been doing on the ground and which was further supported by the modelling, statistical analysis and attention to detail…

The new level of transparency of accounting which is characteristic of the sector came from RJ. The innovative 3 Step Delivery Model was born out of the belly of the Dynamic Duo…


As Machiavelli says.. the innovator is at most risk because on one hand he has those who have benefited from the old system and are fearful of losing out under a new system.

On the other hand, those who ‘could’ benefit from the proposed new system are fearful of that change and of what it will mean….. this leaves the innovator in a precarious position … still innovating but with others waiting, waiting, waiting and trying to time and negotiate their own advantage……

The sector will definitely miss RJ…..

By the way Richard…. ….. lets do lunch … there are new plans emerging,.,.,….. its not over yet……

Seasons greetings………follow this

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Serco Welfare to Work Success

Message from Richard Johnson

It has been a great privilege for me to lead
Serco’s management of such services,
coordinating the delivery of a network
of private, public and third sector
organisations, providing access to
new employment opportunities.


Seasons Greetings: see here

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News ! Influencing, welfare reform and the Work Programme

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