It seems we can always rely on the pompous Sir Stephen Bubb, CEO of ACEVO, to talk nonsense. Here we not only have him complaining about the bad food and hotels on the party political conference circuit, but also this gem concerning his members and the new 'Help to Work' punishment regime for the unemployed recently announced by George Osborne:-
Lastly, at the Conference yesterday we heard from the Chancellor about his latest efforts regarding unemployment. Charities have long led the way in supporting the unemployed back into work. However, if the government expects charities to take on many more volunteers through the ‘Help to work’ scheme, then those places will need to be funded. Governments tend to think of volunteering as without cost, but volunteers need to be supervised, managed and trained and that costs money. Many charities would also have strong reservations about accepting volunteers on mandatory placements- volunteers should be motivated by passion, not the threat of lost benefits. Many of my members will not want to take on the role of penalising people on schemes who may loose benefits. We are the voluntary sector, not an arm of the State, let alone an enforcement agency for DWP.
Hang on a minute here, what's all this about "many of my members will not want to take on the role of penalising people on schemes who may loose benefits. We are the voluntary sector, not an arm of the State, let alone an enforcement agency for DWP."
Oh yes you are! What on earth does he think is currently going on with the Work Programme and his voluntary sector contractors? Claimants are being 'sanctioned' routinely, ie having their benefit withdrawn for months at a time for failing to keep appointments with their work coaches.
Of course the voluntary sector is becoming an arm of the State and Sir Stephen Bubb has been at the forefront of assiduously lobbying government ministers to make sure they get a bigger slice of the action with probation privatisation contracts. Does the man not realise that voluntary bodies who take on probation work will be fully paid up arms of the State, helping to administer judicial punishment via court orders?
Has he taken leave of his senses and simply forgotten that this probation work he's so keen to get for his members is not just about being cuddly and getting clients jobs and housing, it's also about challenging their offending behaviour, monitoring their risk, administering electronic tagging, drug testing and ultimately providing the evidence for breach action or recall to prison if they do not comply with court-imposed conditions. If that isn't about being an arm of the State, an enforcement agency, then I don't know what is.