Polly\’s latest complaint about the private sector

It\’s too cheap.

No, really, that is what she\’s saying.

Companies pay their CEOs lots of money but they\’re still cheaper than \”third sector\” organisations that don\’t. The bastards.

Companies make profits yet they still underbid the charities. The bastards.

It\’s, umm, let\’s be polite, something of a confused argument really.

7 thoughts on “Polly\’s latest complaint about the private sector”

  1. Well, there’s quite a lot on there about the performance gov’t managed to get out of those companies that have tried so far.

  2. I don’t like criticising Polly, as she is the President of the British Humanist Association, but this article really does take the biscuit!

    The number and proportion of incapacity benefit claimants has ballooned since the 1970’s. We are told that one of the healthiest things is to be in work. So a reduction would be a good idea.

    There are also a couple of simple answers to the apparent failure of not-for-profit groups. Either they are not much good, or they could reform themselves into for-profit enterprises. They could be owned by charitable trusts (or co-ops) if they wish, generating more money for good causes. I’m thinking of Fortnum’s, John Lewis, (formerly) Welcome and The Co-Op, or even The Guardian (except it just makes losses. Doesn’t that tell them something?) Suggest that to Wise Group, Polly.

    She criticises Ingeus Deloitte for having a CEO who was some experience. Does she think it would be better if he had none? I seem to remember howls of outrage that the banking CEO’s had not a single banking qualification between them. Hmm..

    As for previous performance, if that were taken into account, it would logically be impossible for any private enterprise to compete, if all previous contracts were held in the public sector, wouldn’t it?

    As for sub-contracting, IMO, it is often the smaller organisations who can be more innovative and successful, not least because they do not provide a one-size-fits-all solution. (The Prince’s Trust would be an example of that). And in typical Grauniad fashion, she uses emotive terms like “creaming off” and puts “management fees” in quotation marks, implying they are some sort of scam. If it is that bleedin’ obvious, they why don’t the DWP spot it too, and ask them to re-draft their contract?

    And why criticise “any willing provider”? What is so important about the provider being employed in the public sector? Why, for example, must a doctor refer a patient to an NHS physiotherapist in ten miles away, when, for the same cost, s/he can refer to a local (properly qualified and registered) physio in the same neighbourhood. Inn both cases, filthy profits are made: the income of the physio’s. So what?

    I’m not surprised targets were missed by miles. We are in the midst of a recession, and the best way to get a new job is to already be in work. Not only are there too few vacancies, but competition will drive up standard required. As for the Jobcentre Plus, could it not be that they are “creaming off” the easy cases, ie those who are readily employable anyway? After all, benefits are not payable unless you are signed up to Jobcentre Plus. In their 1983 election manifesto, the Labour Party proposed the nationalisation of all employment agencies, to stop the private sector “creaming off” the best jobs. I wonder why that has not been proposed since…

    Polly also criticises the private agencies for high drop-out rates. Hmm… Given the resumed competition of the vacancies, and the desire of companies to pick the best candidates, the most likely cause is the overall poor quality of candidate, followed by poor employment practices. It is not up to the agency to make the hiring decision, is it?

    So, “£94m was spent on employment support that did not deliver additional jobs …” Well, unless they were creating jobs themselves, that is the only possible outcome,isn’t it? Logically, all they are doing is helping some prospective employees, at the expense of others. If one of their candidates is given the job, it means that someone else was not.

    The reduction of IB claimants has nothing to do with private contracts; it has to do with correct classification. And the size of the unemployment total is not the fault of private employment agencies, so don’t criticise them for “wildly ambitious” targets.

    She then accuses the companies of planning to fail. Yeah, right. And civil servants are just there to drink tea till their gold-plated pensions kick in.

  3. To be fair – and believe me I have no natural inclination to jump to Polly’s defence – the thrust of her piece is around success rates for different providers, not their costs.

  4. She says:

    “Among the winners is A4E (Action for Employment) – hardly surprising as its founder, Emma Harrison CBE, was named by David Cameron as his workless families tsar”.

    The selection would have been done by an independent panel with clear criteria to work from, would not include connection to the PM. That criteria would be publicly available – did Polly check?

    To suggest the panel is not impartial is a slur on par with suggesting a football referee is biased. If its true, please tell us, with evidence.

    No evidence? Then just a monumentally stupid, spiteful and probably libellous thing to say.

  5. Further to my previous post, I am delighted to pass on the news that the philospher AC Grayling will very shortly be the BHA President to succeed Polly. 🙂

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