Posts Tagged ‘Self-Help Literature’

In Private Eye this Fortnight: A4E Using Untrained Advisers Working with the Disabled

January 7, 2015

In the ‘In the Back’ section of this fortnight’s Private Eye, 9th-22nd January 2015, is the piece ‘Welfare Gap’. This reports the claims made by a former employee and whistleblower, Chris Loder, at an employment tribunal in Manchester, that the ‘welfare to work’ provider is using untrained or inexperienced personnel to deal with claimants with a variety of mental and emotional problems, such as the mentally ill, those with learning difficulties and people who are drug or alcohol dependent. According to Loder, he was recruited by A4E to work helping unemployed people find jobs in 2012. In February 2014, the Blackpool office started using untrained advisers to deal with clients with the above problems.

The article quotes Jessica Pilling, a former ministerial adviser with 14 years’ experience of working with the disabled, stating her concerns about the companies’ policy. She says, ‘The approach that you take with somebody with mental health problems when coaching them into work is not the same as someone without, and it’s incredibly dangerous to think it is’.

A4E, as might be expected, deny the charge, stating that its staff complete ‘safeguarding training’ and ‘have access to a dedicated safeguarding team’. It also claims to work with specialist partners so that customers are given extra individual support according to their personal needs.

I have to say, I’m highly sceptical of A4E’s claims. As many left-wing bloggers like Tom Pride and Johnny Void have pointed out, so much of the welfare to work strategy pursued by ATOS and now Maximus is basically pseudo-scientific, self-help woo. It’s stuff concocted by the type of alleged experts, who fill the government’s Nudge Unit, largely drawn from the rubbish now filling the self-help shelves of booksellers like Waterstones. It’s a train wreck waiting to happen. Not that this will deter the coalition, who are little more than hucksters ready to peddle any old rubbish, so long as they make a massive profit out of it.