Is there any shred of humanity in The Work Programme?
I work for a subby on the work programme after being part of the TUPE fiasco of last summer, when I was working with a prime on New Deal. I considered myself lucky to be in employment -and still do, especially in the current climate, however I find myself despairing about a number of things with the Work Programme. I'm not naive about the big bad world out there and realise that companies need to make money, but at what cost?
I'm based is a deprived inner city area and with that comes the usual issues of huge caseloads with multiple barriers and diverse requirements. So far, our team have achieved targets, job outcomes, meaningful contacts and attachment figures despite meagre resources and the lack of an ESOL provision - considering that 70% of our clients have that need. I've always used a holistic approach and have found that spending time with clients, helping them recognise their skills and realise their potential has reaped massive rewards for the individual. This was something that I truly loved to do and over the years helped many people back into employment.This method doesn't work so well under the provisions and restrictions of the Work Programme, as the Primes seem to be more concerned how many people we can sanction and how many boxes we can tick in the shortest time frame possible. Whatever happened to helping people? Our team have recently been the subject of an action plan devised by our senior management where we are all under the threat of future disciplinary action. This horrifies us and completely demotivates the team. We work flat out and for what? None of us can do any more than what we do already. I'm seriously considering moving out of the industry. Years ago this was a career choice for me and recently I've found the floor moving beneath me. I'ts something that saddens me. I don't respond well to being beaten with sticks and neither do my clients.