Right Grayling, wrong crime

The UK parliament’s Justice Select Committee has finally confirmed what we predicted in our blogs and advised the Committee as early as 2013. The so-called ‘rehabilitation revolution’, or contracting out of probation services, by the then Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, has been a complete failure. There has been a reduction in quality of service, “disappointing” … Continue reading

The Kabul model

The Ministry of Labour Social Affairs Martyrs & Disabled (MoLSAMD) in Afghanistan (the equivalent of DWP in the UK or DEEWR in Australia), with technical assistance from the World Bank, are about to begin the contracting of two pilot employment programmes. One aims to open up a formal migration channel for thousands of Afghanistan workers … Continue reading

Working options

This article appeared in the Autumn 2017 edition of the Fabian Review: ‘A Public Offer’   One of the defining moments of the 2017 general election was the prime minister’s evasive response to a question on nurses having to use food banks. The assertion that there are people who work and are paid wages, and … Continue reading

Incendiary Procurement

Whatever the enquiry finds, it is without doubt that Grenfell Tower went up like a dry stick because its refurbishment was procured at least in part on the basis of price. If the same fire had started in one of the gleaming new blocks in London’s docklands, it would not have spread. The people buying … Continue reading

Navigating into career control

“Take back control” became a central theme of 2016 campaigns. The aftermath of both the EU referendum and the Trump victory in the US has seen a wealth of commentary on why this message resonated so strongly. The focus has tended to be on areas that have been ‘left behind’ by globalization. The impact of … Continue reading

They made their bed

The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) have just commenced buying the new Work and Health Programme. This will replace the existing Work Programme, which has run since the coalition government came to power. It will be the layer of services, contracted out mainly to private sector ‘welfare to work’ providers, that is intended to … Continue reading

Work in Life

If employment programmes were judged by their effectiveness in moving people out of poverty, would it make a difference to the way they are designed and managed? Two-thirds of children living in poverty have parents who work. Millions have been spent on employment support programmes. Evaluations and analysis of their effectiveness assess their efficacy in … Continue reading

Insights from Within

In this special guest blog, we hear from Bill Wells in response to Richard’s recent piece on changing the way children’s services are commissioned. Bill Wells worked in DWP, BIS, and its labour market predecessors, for over 35 years. As a labour market economist he has a national and international reputation. During this time he had … Continue reading

Dos and Don’ts from Down Under

In the late nineties, as Blair and co were rolling out the New Deals and experimenting with contestability at the edges of Jobcentre Plus, the Australians were outsourcing their Commonwealth Employment Service in its entirety. The two countries have watched each other closely ever since. With roughly similar welfare systems, we keep looking to the … Continue reading

No worries mate! (As long as you don’t want to eat)

If people in the UK think the government aren’t tough enough on unemployed benefit claimants, they should look to Australia for ideas. But they should be very careful what they wish for. There is a virulent stream of political rhetoric in Australia, feeding and fed by public opinion, suggesting that benefit claimants are nothing but … Continue reading