Public and Commercial Services Union
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PCS responds to work and pensions report

PCS echoed concerns expressed by the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee yesterday, that contractors delivering the Flexible New Deal could "cream" the easy cases of helping people back into work, whilst "parking" those who are harder to help.

Today’s select committee report, DWP’s Commissioning Strategy and the Flexible New Deal, also expressed concern about the lack of evidence in the UK on the performance of the private and voluntary sectors when compared to the public sector.

Whilst sharing some of the committee’s concerns over the funding for the programme, the union disagreed with the committee’s endorsement of contracting out the Flexible New Deal.

PCS questioned whether there was the capacity and skills in the private sector to successfully deliver the Flexible New Deal.

Rather than writing a blank cheque for contractors, the union urged the government to rethink outsourcing the Flexible New Deal and to keep the work in house.

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: "We share many of the committee’s concerns, but believe simply offering contractors more money to deliver the Flexible New deal is not the answer.

"The government should be investing in the skills and expertise of Jobcentre Plus giving them the flexibility and resources to help the long term unemployed back into work.

"As the economic crisis deepens the government needs to fundamentally rethink its approach to helping the unemployed back into work and its controversial welfare reforms."

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