In-the-know whistle-blower gives The Slog some grisly details
IDS….”there are two chances of this scheme working…”
Twelve days ago, the Department of Work & Pensions issued a release on its website explaining how the ‘Troubled Families’ initiative would work. It all sounded terribly positive and correct, and the intentions socially honourable. On the same day, The Slog posted this piece suggesting that the results to date of the initiative were spin and wind.
Now a whistle-blower within the DWP has given The Slog details of things the Department is not talking about in the media. Subsequent enquiries made by me among private supplier contacts and participants suggest that my DWP mole’s allegations are, in all the detail given here, accurate.
After what is claimed to be a high level of success in trials, the DWP under Iain Duncan-Smith is rolling out an initiative to work with 120,ooo families whose lives are ‘blighted by joblessness, single parents, crime and truancy’ nationally. The DWP site alleges that ‘ahead of expectations, local authorities reported in January  that they had successfully turned around the lives of 1,675 troubled families after just nine months of the three year programme, meaning that the children in those families are regularly in school and not committing crime or adults are in work.’
Note the use of the word ‘or’ at the end there – not ‘and’. A 50% improvement is clearly being used as the criterion for ‘success’. We are also given no details of what the work/school/crime ratio was before the scheme began. But think of that merely as my innate cynicism: what I will outline below will make such nit-picking pale into significance.
“We have specially trained personnel to work closely with them to break these harmful trends and integrate them into society,” says the whistle-blower, “However, what has not been released and is being kept hush hush [is that] this will not be an option where families can choose not to be involved…..if they refuse to participate, their benefits will be stripped under sanctions.”
Rousseau might have called it ‘forcing people to be nice’.
Now there’s nothing like concentrating the mind in such things: I’m all for every anti-social pain in the arse being made acutely aware of this being a tough-love boot camp thing. But the ramifications of some of the ‘sanctions’ my source has detailed go beyond this….and more to the point, they suggest a blasé attitude to the social ramifications of the policy that I find alarming. They include:
* Professional organisations have been hand picked to get the desired results as expediently as possible.
* If after a period of 26 weeks results are not forthcoming and improvements tangible and sustained all benefits will be withdrawn. From then on, the adults will have to work in any position that can be found – and will be paid via fuel, food and basic clothing. Children over 13 will be expected to work under the same terms as their parents at special schools.
* If the children continue to truant and participate in anti social behaviour, those under 13 will be taken into care. They will not be living with their parents, but in dormitory accommodation. (And we all know what that means)
* Any of the parents having children throughout or once they’ve failed the initiative will be taken into the care of local authorities. The families will be allowed supervised access at contact centres as deemed acceptable by the people overseeing the project and the handlers for the individual families. (And we all know what that means)
Before anyone mistakes me for a bleeding-heart hard-Leftie here, let me say upfront that I admire Iain Duncan-Smith and have always found him honest in his dealings, as well as being genuinely committed to the idea of improving social conditions for all our citizens. In a way, I hope this post will alert him to a problem he may have among the ‘enthusiasts’ below him at the DWP. These are my reservations:
1. Expediency is the last thing that should be present anywhere in a project like this.
2. The withdrawal of benefits will please the blue-rinse fanatics, but inevitably lead to an increase in youth crime alongside resentful feral behaviour among the children. It will also up the abuse figures in the care system, as clearly nobody at Westminster is remotely interested in looking under that stone.
3. How can results be judged reliably as ‘tangible and sustained’ after six months? Would any specialist sign off an alcoholic on that basis?
4. Are we in a State now that believes it has the right to ban people having children – to the extent that they fire the parents off the programme and put the kids into paedoland? This is the sort of crap Harriet Harman on steroids would come up with.
The whistle-blower continues:
“Myself and many other staff are horrified, but are powerless to stop this. The government are saying they will save more on what they cut on the benefits including DLA for the people in these families getting high rates for anger and behavioural problems, housing benefits and benefits for babies and children…children whether in these families or other families on low incomes are a drain on resources, and they believe if they stop paying then the children will stop being born and those already here will have to either conform or to be excluded and earn their keep….This is all underway and being arranged as we speak.”
The mind boggles at the kind of mentality that believes the children will stop being born if the benefits are removed. But as the clincher, it’s worthwhile taking a look at the private intermediary facilitators shortlisted for the task of running the rollout. They are G4S, Deloittes, Veolia, Capita and Serco.
G4S we’re all aware of from their spectacular Olympic success last year. Why would you put a company that lied about its capacity to handle the Olympic Games security in charge of a project like this? Why would any government department hire this shower ever again? A former G4S employee told me today, “The idea of putting those numpties in charge of a skilled area like this is beyond belief.”
I’m not informed enough to say what qualifications Deloittes has in this context. Does anyone else? Veolia Environnement provides tailor-made services in its three complementary business activities: water management, waste management and energy services. Spot any expertise in problem family management there? Capita is a business process outsourcing and recruitment company which also has a property and infrastructure consultancy division. The term ‘problem families’ is absent from its website. Serco is a Hampshire based outfit working with public and private transport and traffic control, aviation, military and nuclear weapons contracts, detention centres and prisons, and schools.
The overall sense one gets from the consultants being looked at and the methods involved is one of process management rather than human reform or redemption: the key terms in all this seem to be expediency, savings, care system, secret Courts, obligatory contraception, and fast results. It smacks of political cobbling together, ham-fisted social engineering, and near-total ignorance of the issues surrounding dysfunctional underclass families. It reminds me of the cynicism surrounding Care in the Community for mental health treatment during the 1980s.
The solution to problem families in the short term may well have to be brutal. But this DWP version looks as if it was constructed by a committee of Nanny Stateists, part-time Nazis, and braindead politicians anxious to make something disappear….back into the care system, which is already overloaded and sexually unreliable.
Further whistle-blowing gratefully accepted at the usual address: email@example.com