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Public Accounts Committee criticises award of contract to A4e

The  Public Accounts Committee’s chair, Margaret Hodge, asked civil servants why welfare-to-work companies with poor track records of fulfilling previous contracts had been given new work.

“It seemed rather surprising to me that you did not have to regard to the past performance of contractors. Why not?” she asked. “A4e … their performance on [Pathways to Work] was abysmal … Why didn’t you look at past performance of contractors?”

Fellow committee member Richard Bacon, Conservative MP for south Norfolk, added:

“Are you seriously saying that you could not take into account that A4e had dreadful performance in one of the immediate predecessor programmes?”He said that the company got 9% of clients into work in the Pathways to Work programme – it had been expected to deliver 30%.

There was also concern raised about dividends of £11m being paid out.

Read more in the Guardian

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Monster World Wide will help jobless into work

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has signed a deal with Monster Worldwide for a range of online job advertisement and search services.

A contract award notice has appeared in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The solution will offer an extended job search by aggregating vacancies advertised directly by Jobcentre Plus, as well as vacancies from employers’ own websites and other job boards.

Companies without an online recruitment system will be able to use a self-service facility to create a vacancy and manage responses from potential candidates, according to the DWP.

People looking for work will be able to;

  • Create their own secure online accounts,
  • Set up an online profile,
  • The sytem will suggest alternative jobs,
  • Match individual profiles and vacancies,
  • Give employers and job seekers an “automated match“,

The new system will;

  • Track the activities of job seekers and provide the DWP with business and labour market intelligence,
  • Employers and job seekers can provide real time information about their experiences,

Availability

The facility will be available to;

  • The public via Directgov,
  • To employers via Businesslink and EURES,
  • To Jobcentre Plus personnel via internal systems.

The estimated contract value is between £14.45m and £20.44m .

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Help the Unemployed become self employed…. Enterprise clubs

More needs to be done to encourage and help unemployed people to see self-employment as a viable route off benefits and into financial independence.

On 31 January 2011, the Minister for Employment announced the launch of Enterprise Clubs which is targeted at unemployed people interested in self-employment

The main aim of Enterprise Clubs is to help people make the most of local knowledge and resources to help unemployed people in their communities set themselves up as self-employed or start their own business.

They will empower local communities and encourage people to work together to offer additional support to unemployed people who are interested in becoming self-employed. They will also help local communities to become more prosperous by encouraging private sector growth.

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Set up a Work Club

In an attempt to get Get Britain Working the Coalition Government have established Work Clubs. Work Clubs aim to support the development of a network of locally led, community based support for the unemployed.

The main aim of Work Clubs is to help people make the most of local knowledge and resources to help unemployed people in their communities gain employment. The hope is that they will empower local communities and encourage people to work together to offer additional support to the unemployed.

Work Clubs will provide unemployed people with a place to meet and exchange skills, find opportunities, make contacts, share experiences and receive support to help them in their return to work.

Work Clubs is one of a number of options we are developing to get Britain working and will focus on supporting the move into a job ahead of entry to the Work Programme.

For those who would like to set up and run or support a Work Club in your area.

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Likely concessions on welfare reform

The House of Lords defeated the Government on seven key elements of the Welfare Reform Bill; one of those elements include the proposal to cap out-of-work benefits at £26,000 per household.

In the Commons today, ministers aim to overturn the defeats and will table their own amendments to reinstate the original plans.

 

It is been reported that Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith is likely to offer “transitional arrangements” to help families who will be hit by the cap which may include a new fund to help pay the moving costs of any family that cannot afford to remain living in a large home once the £26,000-a-year limit is introduced…. the size of the home is really irrelevant; large or small, the cost of living and indeed accommodation is higher in certain parts of the country than in others..

IDS may also offer a “grace period” so that benefit claimants who have lost their jobs after years of contributing National Insurance payments through work will not immediately fall under the cap. but will be allowed to claim unlimited benefits for a period of time.

Naturally the Lib Dems are claiming that they are a stablising force reining in the excessess of the Conservative wing of the Coalition government.. Who Knows…

The Labour Party is planning to table its own proposals which is that the cap should be set a local level… consistent with the acknowledged regional variation in the cost of living and housing…. Even with this, Labour’s general position is far too unclear even confused

Labour will oppose the Government’s amendments and table its own rival proposals — for the cap to be set at a local level, reflecting the cost of housing in different parts of the country.

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