With nothing to lose now that he has moved out of the welfare to work arena, Richard Johnson of Serco and Work Directions fame, has shared his thoughts on the government's approach to the Work Programme. Always one to stand up and be counted, and to challenge what he saw as ill conceived or badly thought out policy, Richard's views may not surprise too many people, but as someone who was (and still is) very respected in the sector, this isn't something Chris Grayling will want to be reading. Coupled with Emma Harrison's criticism of the Welfare Reform Bill, is this the week the sector starts to fight back?
In his thought piece for the Guardian (click here) Richard says about the "compete on price" approach that DWP are now taking with all of their contracts:
In order to cut their costs, contractors must reduce the scope and quality of their service, see fewer jobseekers and see them less often. They must prioritise rigorously, not wasting precious time on intensive, professional, expensive assistance – such as help with debt, depression, alcohol abuse, homelessness, and so on. In the harsh parlance of procurement, they must "cream and park", focusing on the quick wins and ignoring the difficult ones.
He also calls for publication of a wider range of data than just starts, and a post Work Programme programme delivered by local specailists.
And in spite of the article title, he didn't actually call DWP cheapskates in the body text!
7 February 2012