Examination of Witnesses (Questions 140-158)|
WEDNESDAY 8 MAY 2002
140. It is always very easy to criticise other
people who are involved in partnerships or collaborative working.
How do you see your role developing, especially in local partnership
(Mr Hawkhead) Groundwork is fundamentally premised
on the basis that we are a bottom-up organisation based on what
we regard as a true local partnership rather than local collaboration.
We cannot deliver without that local partnership. We find generally
that people are very committed to working with that, if there
is a common aim and over 20 years it has worked for us. We are
all for it.
(Ms Scott) Do you think Jobcentre Plus is doing everything
it can to support you in that?
(Mr Hawkhead) It is worth remembering that Jobcentre
Plus operates very much at an area level only slightly with partnerships.
It is involved in some local partnerships but its key job is to
work in bilateral relationships with people like us to provide
services to the unemployed.
(Mr Parry) The relationship is different between district
and regional level. At district level I feel we have good strong
collaborative links with Jobcentre Plus. At regional level it
is somewhat different because it would be very difficult for Jobcentre
Plus to enter into a partnership. The contracts are delivered
through tender. It is very much a tendering process and it is
probably difficult to run through a partnership.
(Mr Charlesworth) That is one of the advantages that
Groundwork and Shaw Trust have in that we genuinely believe in
partnership and are not bedevilled by having to have an antagonistic
contractor/client relationship that seems to bedevil a lot of
the public sector. I have a background in local government contracting
and I know what it did there. It certainly seems to bedevil much
of the relationship with Jobcentre Plus. They find it difficult
to work in partnership. In my view they understand the contracting
relationship and are happy to hide behind it. They need to develop
more true partnerships if they are going to be effective in the
141. Ian Reeves, how do you see your role in
getting together the local partnerships?
(Mr Reeves) Despite the point I tried to make about
definition, we do work very well in collaboration and we are very
good in partnership. We are very clear about when we are sharing
risk and reward and when we are there to add value in a co-operative
sense to a shared aim. I am not knocking either. I am just saying
they are two very different things. In Getting London Working
we lead ten parties. We are very much behind the Employment Bond,
which was first launched in Sheffield, then in Newcastle. We have
financed and helped launch the City and East London Bond where
we are seeking to raise £50 million to help in the regeneration
in East London. We are very much a partner there. We are putting
money on the table, management on the table, total ideas, access
to the business world, which they did not have and marketing committees.
We have put enormous resource behind it as a partner. We have
demonstrated thistime does not permit to list all of themacross
the country. Our network of patrons is another matter. We have
people distinguished in public life and in business as patrons
regionally throughout this country for us who are there actively
helping us to come together with people with responsibility as
well as authority locally to enable us to function and deliver
on the ground and we do from Plymouth to Glasgow to many other
places. You cannot do this by standing back. You have to be able
to engage, you have to be able to engage employers. All I would
reiterate is that there is inadequate involvement of employers
in a process talking about employment. One of the strengths we
have demonstrated in getting this is that we have gone out and
put almost as much effort into talking to and getting employers
involved in the process as we have needed to with the individual.
Forming real working relationships with employers and getting
more employers prepared to be involved in taking people who have
been either disadvantaged or involved in long-term unemployment
is in my experience a critical issue. I have talked to a lot of
top business peopleno names, no pack drillwho think
I am mad. Why do you bother? Let the marketplace decide. I do
not believe that you can function in that way; I think business
is about communities and I believe that it is good business. Not
enough business people believe it is good business to get involved
in this process.
142. Given your experience across the country
and picking up on a point Graham Parry was making about a regional
dimension, do you think there is sufficient flexibility in the
system for you to address issues at a local level and at a regional
level, or are the various regeneration projects that you tap into
too tightly constrained and lack the necessary flexibility to
address those special local and regional issues?
(Mr Reeves) They are too tightly constrained. There
is not enough flexibility. It is almost inherent, when we are
dealing with Government money. I come out of a major construction
projects business, so I have in another sense a lot of experience
of dealing with public/private partnerships and PFI. It is almost
inherent in the process that nobody trusts anybody. We start with
a blank sheet of paper where distrust is written through the centre
and we design a system to constrain anything happening rather
than deciding that the downside of anything going wrong is far
overwhelmed by the upside of operating in a system where we do
not spend one third of our time filling out forms. Nobody calculates,
as a business would, whether the cost of policing exceeds the
cost of fraudif I might put it as simply as that.
143. Does the Shaw Trust have a similar experience
of lack of flexibility, dare I ask, given some of the remarks
you made earlier?
(Mr Charlesworth) I would echo everything he said.
I cannot add anything better to what he said. There is a lack
of flexibility and it is all built on that distrust model. I have
worked with the Treasury Review Group on the Compact. If only
we had the Compact on Funding in practice within Government Departments
and within local government then we would all feel far happier
from this side of the table.
144. May I mention two specific points? The
intermediate labour markets have been mentioned and Tony Hawkhead
mentioned it in his introduction and you have also highlighted
some of the benefits of ILMs with regard to individuals: the fact
that they are employees from the start of the project. Can you
just tell me what role you think ILM initiatives in general have
in encouraging neighbourhood renewal and sustainable development,
the macro view?
(Mr Hawkhead) The first thing an intermediate labour
market project enables you to do is ground the individual you
are helping firmly in a project which helps the local community,
so you get an immediate win-win. To give you an example, a similar
trust operation in South Yorkshire, Groundwork Dearne Valley,
is operating with a number of former mining communities. What
has been happening there is that people are being helped to get
ILM jobs which directly benefit the local villages, the former
mining villages themselves. What is then happening is that the
local authorities themselves are breaking down the way they used
to work and they are employing those people permanently in jobs
instead of a distant direct labour organisation. So you get a
win-win: people who know the individual who is stewarding their
village, the person concerned has a job and there is a much more
direct ownership by the village itself of the services which are
being provided. What they want they get.
145. Do you find that the intermediate labour
markets work regardless of market constraints? Picking up on the
earlier point about London being an area where there are lots
of jobs, is it successful in these other areas, given different
market conditions or are there different measures of success?
(Mr Parry) The same model is run in two different
ways. In areas where there are no existing vacancies left open,
like the coal fields for example, the ILMs have run as an additionality.
New programmes, new projects and employment opportunities are
set up. In areas such as London or Birmingham, where the goal
is the same, the ILM will operate on a placement within a company
trying to recruit, in an organisation trying to recruit. The process
is the same: if there are not enough vacancies a new project will
be created; if vacancies exist somebody can run an ILM with people
placed within organisations looking to recruit.
(Mr Hawkhead) I would not want you to get the impression
that ILMs are created simply to create temporary employment with
no end. If that is the only end we have, we do not do it. What
we have worked very hard at in Groundwork is that if the jobs
exist already, like in London or Birmingham or Manchester, we
do not spend lots of time trying to create jobs. We work much
harder at creating longer-term green jobs, for example, as in
Dearne Valley, where the obvious jobs have gone.
146. Do either of the two other organisations
have an involvement in ILMs?
(Mr Charlesworth) I talked about the eight social
firms we operate, two of which are profit making, which are on
a model equivalent to the ILMs. We are affiliated with Goodwill
in America and Goodwill as the biggest provider of welfare-to-work,
operate some very big social firms. Everything in America being
big. One of the areas they operate in is in defence. They operate
a public facilities social firm across naval bases on a preferred
supplier basis. That might be a model which could be brought here.
There used to be a preferred supplier status for Remploy, which
has now gone in most local authorities. Something equivalent to
that might be a way of developing the ILM market.
147. Ian Reeves, do you have any involvement
(Mr Reeves) No.
148. Do you have any comments on the new StepUp
pilots and especially how you see them linking into existing ILM
projects. Do you have any involvement with them at all?
(Mr Hawkhead) The answer is that we will. We were
disappointedand I have told Leigh Lewis thisthat
being the largest provider of intermediate labour market places
in the country we were not consulted about the detail of the programme
before it was set up. I think that was an opportunity lost. That
said, we are glad to see that what the Jobcentre Plus call a transitional
employment scheme is being piloted through StepUp and we are aiming
to work in four or five of the pilot areas directly, talking to
the local regional offices.
Mrs Humble: Does anybody else have comments
about StepUp? No? Thank you very much.
149. Is it not really the case that you are
the exception to the rule? From what you have been saying it is
probably self-evident that employers are pretty prejudiced not
just against unemployed people but potentially disadvantaged groups,
ex offenders or people with disabilities whom Ian Charlesworth
looks after. Is that not particularly so when the economy starts
to falter? Is it not really a question of one or two big employers
getting involved in this and really that is about it?
(Mr Reeves) I am glad to say the answer to that is
150. Convince me.
(Mr Reeves) Fair enough. Give me long enough and I
hope to do so. First of all you might be interested to know that
we had a lunch last Thursday under Getting London Working to which
we invited a range of senior people from small to medium-sized
enterprises who have become active employers with our programme
here in London. There was not one particularly large employer
amongst them. They ranged from transportation companies, bus companies,
to betting shops, to a new start-up business in web design, to
a training group on construction skills. All of them have become
engaged because we went out on an outreach basis and engaged them
to get involved. People in business do not have two heads. They
do care, they live in communities, they have children, some of
whom are disabled or dyslexic and all the rest of it. It is not
typical to believe business does not care, but it is under pressure,
it is in a competitive environment and therefore it has to be
made clear that they have a role to play. It has to be facilitated
in a way that is important to their business. What is not helpful
is to have 300 or 30 inappropriate people sent to you by the Jobcentre
for a job. One of the things we insist upon in Tomorrow's People
is that we review the applications and we tailor and we only send
people who we think have a realistic chance of getting that appointment.
That is at the very minimum a respect for the company's time and
resources. It is a small example of how you can endear yourself
to employers or you can make them decide not to see anybody else.
No, it is not just the big employers. Yes, they have more resources.
Yes, they can have directors of community affairs, of course;
larger companies do have different structures, but our experience
working round this country is that it is people who care and they
can be in the private sector or the voluntary sector. I do not
think that "voluntary sector" is a very good description
either. "Not for dividend" is a better one. Most of
the people in Tomorrow's People are paid, they do not volunteer.
I am probably one of the few people who do not get paid in Tomorrow's
People and I am very happy about it. There are many misnomers.
It is not true to say that business does not care. It is not true
to say that it is only large companies. All of our evidence, which
I am very happy to offer you in a supplementary memorandum with
some statistics, is about how the people who tend to care are
people in the small- to medium-sized enterprises who struggle
to attract the best people.
151. It would be useful to have that. Were the
small- and medium-sized companies which came from West London
or East London or both?
(Mr Reeves) They tended to come from South London.
152. The reason I put that to you, is that within
London we have the East/West divide on levels of unemployment;
certainly in my area you cannot get a bus driver for love or money,
which is why we have problems with the bus service. They are absolutely
struggling to recruit and similarly in retail.
(Mr Reeves) It comes down to pay.
153. Have you tried to do the exercise you have
just mentioned and have people got involved and taken people on
in other areas of the country where the economy is less buoyant?
You said to Anne Begg that some of the employers were prejudiced
against people who were unemployed, it equals unemployable, words
to that effect. Have you tried to do that sort of exercise in
areas where there is visible high unemployment throughout the
community? London is a different case: there are patches of very
high unemployment as opposed to high job vacancies. What have
the results been, not just in terms of getting people round a
table to have lunch, but getting them to take people on and sustain
(Ms Scott) Tomorrow's People does operate around the
country, we do have an operation in London but we are operating
in places like Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow even in Plymouth
where there have been some difficulties over the years. I support
you totally. It is how you engage with employers and how you offer
them a service to make it easier for them to accommodate these
people into their workforces. When that level of support is there,
then we can provide you with statistics for each individual operation
and how it performs. It is not difficult to get them to care.
We can take you to one project where its income is predominantly
derived from tourism, where one company said they did not have
any vacancies but they would like to do their bit to help the
local community in which they live and operate enter the labour
market even though they did not have vacancies themselves. They
have funded us for over three years now to achieve that and it
is well worth a visit.
154. So you have been able to engage small companies
in areas of high unemployment.
(Ms Scott) Yes; absolutely.
(Mr Reeves) Regularly.
155. Could you give us some details of that?
(Ms Scott) Yes.
156. What do you think the Government should
be doing to try to support these business-led initiatives?
(Mr Reeves) I actually think the problem starts a
lot earlier. I am a great believer in prevention being better
than cure. I am sorry that time does not permit this morning to
get back to schools and education and why we have such a problem
in the first place and why it is that we can actually offer this
advice to people later on and help them to stabilise their life
and move on, where somehow in this intermediate period, where
millions are spent, we fail. I spend a good deal of my time going
to talk to schools as well because I believe that that is a preparation
for adulthood and the world of work. When I see sixteen-year-olds
leaving school with nothing, no further education to go to, no
job arranged and falling off the edge, I think that is an absolute
disgrace. Debbie knows that my view about being an intermediary
is to span and interface with education, learning and skills.
It is this transition; a major transition. We talk about people
transitioning from unemployment to work, but let us talk about
people transitioning from school to the world of work. That is
the place to get business involved. The other thing I would say
which is relevant to this, is why not go and ask more employers
about what skills should be taught in schools? Why not ask employers
who are actually the customer at the end of the day for employing
people? I realise education has a domestic and private and social
need as well as an economic need, but at least in the economic
area I have yet, as Chairman of the CBI, as a Director of London
First, as Deputy Chairman of the Construction Industry BoardI
could list all the things I have doneto be asked once by
anybody in the Government how we could get people better educated
to suit their future intentions.
(Mr Charlesworth) Eight per cent of people in special
education move from school to work. Where is the concern? I do
not hear concern there too often from anybody. Quite the opposite.
I hear teachers, social workers, doctors, medical staff, persuading
people that they cannot work. Maybe the motives are not bad, but
they are constantly giving the wrong message. In terms of working
with smaller employers, yes, we have big companies like Tesco
and Asda who are two of our big providers of work places on WorkStep,
but we have a whole range of small companies. Having said that,
the prejudice and discrimination out there amongst employers against
people with disabilities is enormous. Trying to break that down
comes through a long and sustained period of working. I had great
hopes that the Disability Rights Commission would begin to knock
at that door, but it has concentrated on rights for disabled people.
That is fine. It is all right having the right, but if the provision
is not there, you are still lost.
157. Why do you think employment zones are going
(Mr Parry) I would have to decline to answer that
question. Groundwork does not have a huge presence in employment
(Mr Reeves) I am glad to hear they are.
(Mr Charlesworth) We work in partnership with Reed's
in three of them where we are dealing with disabled people. I
would suggest that a lot of lessons have been learned from other
New Deal programmes and the approach, which is generally the personal
adviser and then the recruitment adviser, which is work focused,
is an approach that works.
(Ms Scott) They are very one-to-one individually based
and tailored and there is a high degree of flexibility to provide
the client with what they really need to get to work. That needs
to be built on and they would continue to be successful.
158. This is a yes or no answer. Supposing I
put to you the proposition that the United Kingdom economy in
short order really started a downward trend which was serious.
Would you have concerns that the kind of apparatus you are all
working in just now and particularly the focus on New Deal could
be in danger of being swamped if unemployment started to spiral?
Is that a real concern that you spend sleepless nights worrying
about? Yes or no.
(Mr Hawkhead) We would not be swamped but there is
a risk. Yes, is the answer in terms of the Government.
(Mr Charlesworth) Yes, because disabled people once
again would be put to the back of the queue and have no politicians
fighting for them generally speaking.
(Ms Scott) Yes.
Chairman: Ladies and gentlemen, that has been
very powerful evidence and you have spent a lot of time producing
written evidence as well as appearing this morning which takes
a lot of time and effort. Thank you for your appearance and thank
you again for what you do. Good luck in future. The Committee
6 Please refer to the supplementary memorandum (ES
05B) submitted by Tomorrow's People, Ev 76. Back