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

The Serco smoke screen

We must be careful that the corporate failures of the big outsourcers in the UK, such as Serco and G4S, do not become a smoke screen behind which failures of the commissioners are forgotten. Media coverage this week of Serco’s failure to hold on to their £600m Docklands Light Railway (DLR) contract has focused on … Continue reading

Lies, Damned Lies and Rhetoric

“The logic and evidence for full employment are strong, and someday, hopefully soon, logic and evidence will matter again” Bernstein and Baker, Introduction to Getting Back to Full Employment, November 2013 (emphasis added) What a depressing end to an introduction. A concession that the thesis that follows may not gain traction with politicians and the … Continue reading

Out of work and out of sight

Now you see them… The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) have been charting workers missing from the US economy – not working, but not classified as ‘unemployed’ either. As of last month their calculations show over 6 million people of working age fit this category. If these missing workers start looking for work, or are otherwise … Continue reading

Up to the Job? File on 4

Richard appeared in the File on 4 programme Up to the Job on the Work Programme Programme Description: Up to the Job? Duration: 38 minutes First broadcast: Tuesday 05 November 2013 The Work Programme is the Government’s flagship scheme designed to help the long term unemployed off benefits and into lasting jobs. But how well … Continue reading