Alan Staff, Chief Executive of Apex Scotland, has written a piece for SCCCJ on the Work Programme and the implications for ex-offenders seeking work.
In the article he states:
Despite repeated assurances from Department of Work and Pensions that the Work Programme would eventually result in the third sector’s increased involvement as sub contractors, to date there has been little indication that any significant resource transfer is happening between private and third sector entities. While some progress is being made in establishing specialist activity agreements it has to be noted that any sub contracting reduces the profit margins of the Prime contractors which in Scotland are Ingeus and Working Links. The loss of highly successful programmes such as Progress2Work/Link-Up have left thousands of people with multiple barriers to employment such as criminal records, substance misuse and mental health issues with little in the way of specialised services. Figures issued to date indicate that only a small number of these will actually find their way into and stay with the work programme, but funding bodies up and down the land claim that since employability is now being dealt with by the Work Programme they no longer need to find finance for such activity. The levels of service cuts across the sector in this field are staggering and have led SCVO to comment recently that the whole initiative is contributing to the effective dismantling of the third sector’s role in offender employability.
Read the full article here.