If you thought the bankers were bad, the companies implementing workfare through the Work Programme and Community Action Programme will have you raging…
A4e: the best example of everything that is wrong with workfare, workfare providers, and the culture of greed that drives the workfare industry. Investigations for fraud were launched in February 2012, not for the first time. Even the Daily Mail is outraged.
Atos: Famous for throwing hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people off benefits, Atos also won the contract to pilot the six month workfare Community Action Programme. They’re also doing the IT for the olympics.
G4S: Most recently in the headlines for killing Jimmy Mubenga, was awarded its Work Programme contract on the basis of a bid promising to send a field operative to a claimant’s door within two hours if that person was non co-operative.
REED in Partnership: Part of the REED recruitment agency: It has told claimants it does not make vacancies it advertises available to the unemployed on the Work Programme as it is a ‘different arm of Reed’. Contact them here.
SERCO: Also runs prison transport and detention centres, is profiting from the Work Programme contract and using workfare to boost its own staff.
All these multi-million pound companies are subsidised by the taxpayer to the tune of billions. It is they who depend on state handouts. The National Audit Office recently criticised the government for introducing the Work Programme before they had found the evidence to support it. The fact that the evidence is not there is glaringly obvious – for months these companies have been asking for their targets to be lowered and their pay to be increased! If this does not happen, the industry fears the scheme may fail. We can only hope!
Yet the Work Programme hands these unscrupulous companies huge control over people’s lives in what ministers call the “black box approach”. Their regime includes workfare – forced unpaid work for benefits – as this list from just one A4E branch shows. The people placed under their control know the very real risk of sanctions if they challenge their advisors’ whim, as a culture of bullying and fear is cultivated. Worse still, people sent to these organisations are encouraged to blame themselves for not being in employment and for not being positive enough, despite the realities of the current economic crisis.
If you feel like you want to contact those organisations a bit more directly, see the very handy list of email addresses here.