Saturday, 12 January 2013

Creaming and Parking

Well would you believe it? According to this Guardian piece, Professor Roy Sainsbury of York University has discovered that:-

The government's flagship welfare-to-work programme is giving priority to "job-ready" claimants ahead of those who have been unemployed for long periods because of sickness, an official assessment has found.

In the first official evaluation of the £3bn work programme, the report, by York university's social policy research unit, says private firms, which are paid for getting an unemployed person into a long-term job, are "openly seeing their most job-ready participants more frequently than those with more severe barriers to work".

The academic authors warn: "It is not yet possible … to draw firm conclusions about the existence or extent of creaming and parking".
But Roy Sainsbury, professor at the social policy research unit, said there existed an issue for the work programme. "The philosophy of the government's plan was that you would give huge amounts of money to get someone into work if they had had, for example, an alcohol problem. [It appears] there's no evidence that firms are responding to those incentives."

But of course the suspicions about 'creaming and parking' have been around for a long time as discussed here in 2010 in relation to Pathways to Work:-

A new research report on the "impact of outcome-based contracting" in provider-led Pathways contains awkward conclusions about the effects of outcome based delivery. It shows that providers have been driven towards "creaming" and "parking" of clients. And it concludes that "providers should be paid on the basis of a wider range of outcomes".

The report says that a culture of “business survival and job security” led to creaming being considered “as appropriate behaviour” in a target-setting environment. Equally, ‘parking’ was seen as acceptable “where there was a clear management steer, for disengaged clients lacking in motivation and for clients who were seriously ill or awaiting treatment.”

The full report can be accessed here. All this is of course extremely relevant to Chris Grayling's recently announced privatisation of the vast bulk of probation's work. Contractors will be rewarded on a Payment by Results basis and the term 'disengaged clients' is one very familiar to probation officers.


  1. Jim,

    Well sourced report which will no doubt be 'overlooked' by CG & his MoJ mandarins.. at a well attended branch meeting yesterday...130! Chief Officer+ Deputy gave a passable call to arms to save the PS, seems Mr G omitted to inform the PCA of his intentions?...references abounded to Uber -Privateers Serco/LPT & UW...when the duo departed.. some v concerning observations from colleagues in logs revised & edited ( doctored!). poor communication, singleton placements pulled w/o regard to client-needs etc...maybe the presence of a former Serco employee in LPT Snr M/ment ...cheerleading this ' template ' for CG model for PS outsourcing is coincidental?...after all he did say in recent meeting with Napo.. this takeover ' must succeed at all costs!...bringing service to life indeed ( Serco's motto)



    1. Mike,

      Very worrying to hear about single placements being stopped for UPW in London by the new Serco management - as we all know this will have a significant effect on clients with special needs such as a learning disability. More info on this would be very welcome indeed and are we able to know the name of the senior Serco manager now cheerleading for them at LPS?

  2. Private sector involvement in service delivery compromising quality and marginalising difficult to place groups? I don't beliEEEEve it.