A quick note on the Work Programme

Aug 06

While much of the negative coverage surrounding the Work Programme has focused on its dubious use of statistics and ludicrously low success rate , there’s another angle to the farrago that has yet to be fully explored, and that’s the process by which the firms failing to find work for its participants were awarded contracts by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). There have been a few examples of smaller charities losing money or even going bust after signing bad contracts with “primes” – the larger companies that sub-contract out much of the work. They’ve been left wondering how the primes got the gig in the first place.


The revolving door between the department and these firms has been spinning at a furious pace. Dean James, CEO of the DWP’s corporate IT directorate, joined Ingeus UK in 2010, while Alan Cave, a director overseeing the project, joined Serco in 2012. And Toni Percival, the DWP’s head of sourcing, joined Carley Consult, which specialises in bid writing for these types of companies, as a “Commercial Solutions Director” in 2012. The House of Commons Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA) says it’s in the public interest for such job moves to take place. But the Public Accounts Committee says ACOBA lacks power and resources (they only investigate beyond a certain grade of civil servant, so none of the above cases made it) And the Government? They’ve said nothing.