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Select Committee on Work and Pensions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 118-139)




  118. May we reconvene the formal Committee proceedings and welcome a series of witnesses from three different organisations? We have Mr Tony Hawkhead, who is Chief Executive of Groundwork. He is accompanied by Mr Graham Parry, who is the Director of EnProve. We are also joined by Mr Ian Charlesworth, who is the Managing Director of the Shaw Trust and Mr Ian Reeves, Chairman of Tomorrow's People accompanied by Ms Debbie Scott, who is the Trust Director. You are all very welcome. May I invite you to say a little bit for the record about what your organisations are and your unique experience? One of the important parts of this inquiry is trying to capture what the innovation is, what the new working is, what the new messages which are being tried and established are. We have been impressed by the evidence we have seen of the results of each of your organisations, so it is important that as part of the inquiry we capture some of that for the record as well as see what recommendations we might be able to make to assist you in developing the important work you have all been involved in in your own ways.

  (Mr Hawkhead) Groundwork has been around for about 21 years; we celebrate our coming of age this year. We have nearly 50 local trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; about 4,500 projects a year. The unique thing is that each trust is a partnership with the local voluntary, public and private sectors, each trust is independent although part of the federation which I lead. We now have offshoots in the United States of America; we have nine local trusts operating in the States and we have a Japan Groundwork association. We have been involved in jobs and training schemes from our origins, working with the Community Programme back in 1981. We now specialise in ILMs, intermediate labour market projects, which are extensions of the New Deal, all built on the Environment Task Force element of New Deal.

  (Mr Charlesworth) Shaw Trust is a not-for-profit registered charity. We are the largest provider of employment services for disabled people. We also deal with disadvantaged groups. In terms of the New Deal for Disabled People, we are the leading not-for-profit provider. We are currently running job broking in Tyne and Wear, South Wales, parts of London and this month we started in the North West and in Falkirk. We previously ran two of the six private sector personnel adviser pilots which were the forerunner of job broking in South Tyneside and Newham. We were a partner with Outset SEMA Group North Yorkshire in three of the other pilots. In terms of the job retention and rehabilitation pilots, we have currently submitted bids as a preferred bidder to South Wales, Teeside and Wiltshire. We operate job retention schemes with European funding and funding from private sector for Neath Borough Council and 3Ms nationally. In addition we have been involved in the New Deal for Ethnic Minorities in Tower Hamlets and the New Deal for Lone Parents in Newcastle and South Wales and we partnered Reed as their specialist disability employment advisers in Employment Zones and ONE. We have a £38 million turnover with 580 staff. We contract and work with 64 local authorities and health trusts. One of the things we are particularly proud of is that we have eight social firms, two of which with no subsidy are profit making and 20-plus social enterprises. In particular we are proud of the Opening Doors schemes which we operate in special education schools and the alternative curriculum which we are currently operating for the whole of Lincolnshire. Finally, we like to work in partnership and we have a range of partners to work with wherever we are operating job broking or any other service, Health Service, Social Services, the CVS[2], the CAB[3], specialist disability organisations such as Coalition for the Disabled, RNIB, RNID, etcetera. We have recently started three independent living schemes Direct Payments Agencies. We are trying to build a model which is inclusive at every level.

  119. That is very helpful. That sets the scene rather well. Can we assume that you are all spending quite a lot of time and creative energy finding resources from different bits of the public purse? Would that be common to you all?
  (Mr Hawkhead) Yes.
  (Mr Charlesworth) Yes.
  (Mr Reeves) Yes.

  120. Let us take that as read in that case. You are all protected by parliamentary privilege. Do you have any particularly difficult experiences with any aspect of central government, whether it is Jobcentre Plus or any of that, which you are really burning to get off your chest, or is it just the kind of constant constructive tension in trying to make the best out of any situation that you find yourself in? Is your relationship with central government or the policy makers in central government exceptionable to the extent that you would want to say something to us this morning about it?
  (Mr Reeves) Two points, perhaps protected by being a businessman and earning my living elsewhere, I can feel even freer in the matter. There are two issues in my view. We bid for Working Links and we could not make the numbers stack up. We bid for one or two other things recently, or were prepared to and did not because we could not make the numbers stack up. This is not a gripe, it is a statement which I think is helpful. Please let us check the accounting. Where we have the public and the private sector bidding in partnership can we please have transparency of costings, costings within the public sector and the private sector. We think we are quite good at maths, but when we cannot make it stack up and we ask our auditors to check that we have not made mistakes and they tell us we have got our sums right, something is wrong. That would be my first point. The second point I would make is that I believe life is driven by fear and greed. There is a lot of fear out there of people trying to protect their positions. Money tends to go either to sustain what people started, however well intentioned it was, or because they see it affecting the direct employment of themselves or their friends. We must guard against decisions being made for the wrong reasons, however understandable they may be.
  (Mr Charlesworth) My comment would be that we face the sort of discrimination and prejudice against disabled people that has existed over the last 50 years and is echoed in the Government's approach to the New Deal in the way that it is being implemented by civil servants. We have had a constant pilot session. Everything is a pilot in terms of New Deal for Disabled People. When they have the experience and they are shown what can work, they choose to ignore that and start again to re-invent the wheel. This is based on an argument which seems to go something like, it is not really worth the investment because there are two kinds of people with disabilities. There are those who were shifted off Jobseeker's Allowance onto Incapacity Benefit some five to six years ago and who could easily be got back to work. There are those who are so severely disabled that they really cannot work so we should not be spending money on them. Yet we have a group, 3.3 million, and we estimate at least half of them want to work and could work. The difficulty we find is the constant battle to get a message over that makes economic sense as well as social sense to get this group back to work. I have brought a paper[4] with me which I will leave which is still in draft from our research manager, who is the Welsh Disability Rights Commissioner as well, which shows the enormous savings to Government of the New Deal for the Disabled and the Workstep programme. We commissioned some research from Nottingham University with a grant which proved just the same as well. We found that kind of prejudice against investing is shown by the £195 million put into the New Deal for Disabled People against the larger amounts for the other New Deals. Finally, whilst the policy makers and the people who are on the ground working with us to provide the service are committed and understand what is needed, we have a contracting regime within the Employment Service, Jobcentre Plus now, which seems to be out of control and which seems to see an end in itself is appointing the highest number of contractors at the cheapest price, even though they cannot deliver the programme. We are constantly upset by the fact that we are delivering the programme, we think we know how to do it and yet a lot of contractors are appointed, 60-odd, who are not performing and are giving the Treasury ammunition that they should not spend any money on disabled people.

  (Mr Hawkhead) A slightly different thing. We reckon that we have to use 10 programmes or more to fund our employment schemes. At any one time, one of the people we employ to deliver projects on the ground is spending 30 per cent or more of their time simply filling in the forms that funders need. That is bonkers. That is a generic problem across government that we have to face and one of the reasons we argue that there needs to be much more considered thought as to how you blend innovation and mainstream together. As far as Jobcentre Plus is concerned—and it may be that I am dealing with a different bit, our relationship with them has been extremely strong and we have found it one of the most open and innovative thinking bits of government. There are other bits I could be less complimentary about.

Miss Begg

  121. Judging from your opening remarks, collectively you must cover all of the New Deals that the Government presently offer. To what extent do you think the success of the New Deal for Unemployed People has been accounted for by the UK's strong economic force? Do you see fairly major implications if there is an economic downturn on the delivery of the Government's New Deal programmes?
  (Ms Scott) I should like to start by saying that there is no doubt the New Deal has really focused individuals on the job search and getting them back to work. The one-to-one approach has really made a difference. If there were to be an economic downturn, then those people most disadvantaged and distanced from the labour market would have to compete with people who were perhaps in a better condition. Therefore one of our recommendations would be that support available to that group of people was actually enhanced and encouraged and grown. Simultaneously with that, we would urge Government to focus more on employers and get employers engaged in the process sooner rather than later.
  (Mr Charlesworth) My evidence on that point would be that we have no evidence that the strength of the economy is particularly helpful in terms of the Government's approach on New Deal. We have operated in South Tyneside and Newham, which have two of the highest unemployment rates in the country, but we had the highest success in terms of placements into jobs of any of the 12 pilots, so there was not really a correlation between the labour market and our success. It was more the approach which the New Deal allows, with the personal adviser focused on a client-centred approach allied to a job matching system. We have had one other aid in our work—which I did not mention in my opening remarks—that we operate Workstep and we have 2,300 employees in companies up and down the country. We deal with 2,000 companies every week. We have had no difficulty in finding jobs for people with disabilities. The big problem is getting in contact with groups who have been "written off" by social services, the Health Service and the Employment Service and are not in contact generally with statutory services concerned with employment.

  122. Essentially you are saying that even in times of economic recession there are plenty of jobs that disabled people can do provided they are given the correct support and engagement with employers.
  (Mr Charlesworth) Yes, I believe that is true.
  (Mr Parry) The same is true for our client group which is deemed to be the hardest to help in the New Deal for Young People programme. It is the strength of the programme and the quality of the programme that makes the difference, possibly not the economic background. We have continued to perform at a steady rate over the last few years in an economy, for example in North Nottinghamshire, which has not benefited quite so much from the economic upturn across the rest of the UK. Our outputs have been maintained because we are working with those people who are hardest to help, but bringing them to the same equal opportunities as those people who are perhaps recent job leavers, recent school leavers with more qualifications and higher levels of ability. It is the quality of the programme, not just the economic background.

  123. Based on your experience, we know that there has been some difficulty in getting sustainable jobs for people who are coming through New Deal. Twenty-five per cent return to benefit within three months, 40 per cent within six months. Can more be done to improve the sustainability of jobs in New Deal? Is it the quality of the job? Is it the aftercare service between employees and employers once a person starts a job?
  (Ms Scott) You have hit on a very important point and that is the aftercare service. Getting somebody into work is one job, but keeping them there is another thing. One of the things Tomorrow's People has developed is an aftercare service where we keep in contact with both the employer and the unemployed person. You cannot separate the care you give them both because it is a tripartite arrangement to keep them in work. We should never underestimate the challenge for somebody who has been distanced from the labour market and gone into work. Once they have got the job, they have achieved a great thing, but they face another set of challenges in terms of being at work and staying in work. By that I mean that they may have had their benefit paid on a regular basis and they may have got used to the financial structure of their life, but suddenly for the first time they go to work and they are going to get paid monthly and they may not be able to manage that. It may take up so much of their time that they cease to focus on their work and not have anybody to speak to about that. If you are long-term unemployed, without being in any way disrespectful to people, you will not have an extensive wardrobe and it can be a great pressure on people when they go to work to think about how they could present themselves on an ongoing basis. The aftercare service has to be very practical and has to be in a position to deal with some of these issues in order that people feel comfortable, having got the job, about keeping it. The more work we can do with employers to help them understand this, so that they do not just write people off because in the first couple of months they do not show for work for whatever reason, the more you can do about that, the more you can get them involved, the better. We have proved that in our aftercare service and retention rates and feedback from employers.

  124. Is it the same for disabled people? I have a vague memory of seeing figures somewhere where the difficulty for disabled people is getting into a job, but they are actually more stable once they are into work than the general population. I do not know whether that is true.
  (Mr Charlesworth) That is true. So far in terms of those we put into work last year through the New Deal for Disabled People, we have a 78 per cent success rate in terms of sustainability. One of the factors in that in my opinion is that we quite often use the Work Preparation Scheme as an introduction, no risk, safe bet for both the employer and the disabled person. We put them in under Work Preparation, which we run in these areas, for up to eight weeks. The employer gets to know the person coming to him and the disabled person gets to know whether they can cope with work, which is the major issue for them. The other thing is that we have found if you get over the first three weeks in work, it is likely to be sustained. Those who leave generally leave within the first three weeks because they cannot cope or whatever. We are very keen to put job coaches or mentors or buddies into the scheme when somebody starts work in order to try to sustain them. The other thing is that we have an ongoing relationship with a lot of the companies which has been built up through working with them on Workstep. In dealing with employers generally we know how to build up the right kind of approach for the employer to come back to us should there be any problem and that is what tends to happen. They will do that more than they will perhaps with other groups which might be coming through on New Deal. Quite often when I go round employers I hear them saying that it is a lot better dealing with us than it is with the other New Deals where nobody seems to care. That is not a judgement; I am passing on the opinion of employers.

  125. Do you have anything different to add?
  (Mr Hawkhead) Two things. One is on the sustainability of the New Deal scheme. Are people going to go through it and get onto something valuable or are they going to waste money and time on a "revolving door" outcome. Second, once people leave New Deal, do they find themselves in a sustainable job which actually lasts? Our argument is that New Deal has worked for the majority of people, but it is less effective at dealing with the hardest to help. That is when you need to provide sustainable help and in our case in actually providing a temporary job. The second thing we would argue is that whilst there are vast areas of the country where there is now a buoyant job market—you mentioned London but our schemes in Manchester and Birmingham have shown that and you need close connections to the employers, like our Transco scheme—there are also parts of the country where we are working where there is not really the level of private sector opportunities there are elsewhere. You have to think about connections to alternative jobs. That is why we have been doing a lot of work on green enterprise and innovative schemes for the future, creating the opportunities for jobs as well as the opportunities to learn.
  (Mr Parry) I would emphasise the importance of follow-up. We find two of the most key issues for follow-up are training resources for the employer and mentoring for the participant. The other difference which helps retention is the intermediate labour markets that we run are a job from day one for the participants. Right from day one of joining us, we are dealing with the issues which might later on affect job retention with a further employer. Many of those issues are dealt with and ironed out while on our programme and will not raise themselves as issues when the person moves into a sustainable and unsubsidised work.

Ms Buck

  126. You are not saying that intermediate labour markets are primarily or exclusively effective in areas where there is not a potential private/public labour market.
  (Mr Hawkhead) No. What we are arguing is that they are primarily useful where you have large cadres of people who are very difficult to help. We would not recommend investing in intermediate labour markets where people would find it relatively easy to get back into the labour market.

  127. Fine; I am very happy with that. I think it is extremely important that if you look for example at areas such as where you are working in London, there is clearly a supply of jobs, but there is a separate issue about the match. It is important that intermediate labour markets are not seen as being only useful where there is no vacancy.
  (Mr Hawkhead) I would agree with you. We would actually argue that the gap may well be larger there. If you are unemployed in London, you are likely to be very, very hard to help at the moment.

Miss Begg

  128. Are there any geographical factors which explain the success or otherwise of the New Deal programmes? It has not been universal. Which of you has most experience in that?
  (Mr Charlesworth) I would say no, there are no geographical factors. In terms of the New Deal for Disabled People it is more to do with the contracting regime and the people who have been appointed who have no experience and no ability to provide the services.

  129. Would you all agree with that? It is the quality of the people providing rather than anything geographical?
  (Mr Parry) No. A factor is most definitely the availability of jobs as well. You need the quality of the programme and the availability of work.

  130. What about the poor performance of people from ethnic minorities who seem to be doing particularly badly in New Deal? Are any of you addressing the issues with regard to that?
  (Ms Scott) In our `Getting London Working' programme we managed to access 64 per cent of our client group from ethnic minority groups. The way in which we have done that is to go out on an outreach basis and find them and talk to them in an environment where they feel comfortable and where they feel somebody is championing their cause and their difficulties. You can get to them.
  (Mr Reeves) It is very important to be proactive, not to sit and wait for people to come to you. I come back to my fear mechanism again. These people are really not comfortable about coming in. We have gone into mosques, doctors surgeries, police stations, all sorts of places and found the people who need the help and given it to them where they are comfortable to have it. That is one of the reasons we have this 85 per cent after 12 months. I think it is unmatched by other programmes. May I make one other point? I was Chairman of the London Region CBI when the report Help Beyond Charity was written. In London in particular there is an under-estimation of the importance of transportation on unemployment. There are opportunities in one place and people in another. The inability of these people to motivate themselves out of an area into another area needs to be addressed. We could take up half an hour on that subject alone but it is a structural issue.

  131. In fact one of my next questions was that we heard evidence last week about the mental blocks that people evolve which mean that they will not move out of an area or they will not get a job in an unfamiliar field. How do you work with people to overcome these barriers? How do you solve that?
  (Ms Scott) You work with them on a one-to-one basis. If the luxury is there, it has to be un-timebound. You really have to understand what it is that is really stopping them from entering the labour market.

  132. We also heard last week about the "network effects"—how you perceive yourself and your potential is dependent on the people around you. How do you help them break out of those networks? How do you make sure that they think they can actually do it?
  (Ms Scott) The great thing is that you do not send somebody to a network or tell them to go and talk to that person, you take them.
  (Mr Charlesworth) I would still argue that we have no evidence that the ability to get disabled people into work is affected by job supply.

  133. It is psychological.
  (Mr Charlesworth) Yes. I was not with the Trust, but I am told that some 20 years ago when unemployment was at its height, the Trust found that was the easiest time to get disabled people into work. That is anecdotal evidence. I do not have direct experience. What I would say in terms of getting to people is that is the difference with the New Deal for Disabled People: it is purely voluntary. It is not like the other New Deals. You have to adopt a different approach, you have to work with partners who are involved with local communities, whether it is ethnic minority groups or whether it is any other group. That is what we have done. Wherever we are working we have at least 20 partners. I accept the point that was made earlier about collaboration and partnership, but what we would say is that it is a true partnership with cross-referral. If somebody comes to us with an employment need but needs aids and adaptations or is interested in independent living, the appropriate reference would be made and certainly from the other agencies. Creating the network to bring people in is vital in terms of working within New Deal for Disabled People. That has not truly been understood by Jobcentre Plus.
  (Mr Parry) That is another advantage of the intermediate labour market process. From day one the participants on the programme are our employees. We will actively work with those people to get them into working in different areas, we will move people around and as there are employers encourage them to see new areas and different pieces of work. That is especially prevalent in North Nottinghamshire, only 12 miles away from the booming economy in Nottingham itself and getting people to move from coalfield villages to work in the city is something we actively encourage.

  134. My next set of questions was on the New Deal for Disabled People and Mr Charlesworth has actually given us quite an insight into where you think the Government are going wrong in not taking it as seriously as they could. If you had two pieces of advice to give to the Government about getting more disabled people into the job market, what is it you think they should be doing?
  (Mr Charlesworth) It should be investing more money to enable me to reach more people who want to work and to open up the doors for them. Secondly, they need to look at the tax credit system which at the moment, in terms of disabled people, is too low. It is not high enough and the tax credits need reviewing.

  135. Do you genuinely believe that if you get that right, there is a huge pool of talent sitting out there in the disabled community?
  (Mr Charlesworth) Absolutely. We are bedevilled by the fact that there is no disaggregation of costs. Nobody knows how much it costs to keep a disabled person out of work, some of the care costs, which are never taken into account by the Treasury—or do not seem to be—when looking at this factor: residential care costing up to £1,700 a week, day care £11,000 per annum per individual. These are huge costs and it is such a waste, because the individual does not want to do that. They want to work in our experience. If you go to any day centre, many of the people will want to work and can be enabled to work.

  136. My final question is on the funding mechanisms. You are all working in the area of the hardest to place, those furthest from the job market. I have had one provider working in the area of people with mental health problems complaining that all the funding is end loaded, it is results driven and because you have to spend a lot more time to get people job ready in all of the areas you are working in, there are disincentives there, there is a barrier. Can I ask for your comments on that and solutions as well?
  (Mr Reeves) First of all you should measure distance travelled. This was a conversation we had with Leigh Lewis a long time ago. Some mechanisms to manage value added along the chain is critically important to get money to this sector. The other thing you must do is find better ways of engaging people like me from the private sector. There is a perception in business that unemployed means unemployable. There is an ignorance factor in business. There is an arrogance in business. There is a need to get to more employers and get them to understand the economic business case and the benefit and the high retention levels. The reason I am involved with this is that I passionately believe in it and I have seen it work, but not enough business people are involved. Some effort and some investment needs to go in to reaching out—in the same way that we reach out to individuals who need help—find better ways of reaching out to business to engage them in the process because there are still too many businesses who think it is clever to walk away from the problem.
  (Mr Charlesworth) In terms of the New Deal for Disabled People, too much risk is loaded onto the service provider. It is amazing again that the people who face the most barriers to getting back to work and the service providers to that group also face the highest risk, with 99 per cent outcome funding and no payment up front. This has been altered in terms of all the other programmes. New Deal for 50-plus, delivered by Jobcentre Plus has no outcome funding. We are not arguing for that, but we are arguing for a more equitable share of risk and much more recognition that there are start-up costs, set-up costs and those should be met in the first place.
  (Mr Hawkhead) We should recognise that the Employment Service, now Jobcentre Plus, listened in New Deal's early days and did change the scheme to allow us to get more upfront support. I totally agree with Ian: we need to do a lot more in terms of recognising outcomes. What I am slightly worried about at the moment and we are worried about generally is that there are signs that New Deal funding is heading back towards "end loading". If that happens, then the hardest to help will be the first to fall off the trolley.

Mrs Humble

  137. Employment and regeneration. Since so much of the Government's employment strategy is also linked to regeneration, can you tell me to what extent your own employment initiatives are linked to regeneration programmes in particular areas?
  (Mr Hawkhead) You have probably guessed from the fact that I speak regularly to nine different Government Departments and their Ministers that we are heavily involved in a range of regeneration initiatives. Very heavily, is the answer. Indeed our intermediate labour market scheme depends absolutely on regeneration scheme funding such as single regeneration budget, in future single pot funding. Where we would have a critical view is that we do not think there are clear links and a clear understanding of the Government's regeneration aims and its aims at reducing unemployment. To give you one example, it is fair to say that the environment task force has never really been a strongly focused bit of that scheme. It has been very much more about unemployment than about regeneration which it could be.
  (Mr Charlesworth) In terms of regeneration, we are the accountable body for SRB in two areas and use a fair amount of SRB funding. I have to say it is a very difficult programme to operate in terms of the bureaucracy, which is outstanding. In terms of other programmes, we draw in from a range in the public sector—HAZs[5] and New Deal in Communities and so on. Wherever we are operating we try to use a co-ordinated measure of funding. I have to say that co-ordinating the funding that is there for economic regeneration and employment is difficult sometimes because disability does not seem to be an issue nor employment of disabled people. Take the Coalfields Regeneration Trust with whom we work, who have found it very difficult to accept that disabled people should be a priority. Even more amazing is that the Social Exclusion Unit does not actually believe that the fact that one in two disabled people are economically inactive is a form of social exclusion and will not accept it. That tends to permeate government agencies in their view of disability, even down as far as the Community Fund.

  (Ms Scott) In terms of regeneration, we as an organisation have had to be quite disciplined and stick to our strengths. Therefore when we have become involved in regeneration partnerships or initiatives we have played the role of helping local people into local jobs and we have not put ourselves in a position where we have developed capital projects.

  138. Ian Charlesworth had some concerns about the co-ordination between Government Departments. Do you share his concerns about lack of co-ordination, both between Government Departments and also between departments of local government and central government?
  (Ms Scott) I do share his view and I understand it is very frustrating. You can have an initiative you want to deliver and the cocktail is extensive in order to get the funding to do it. You have to negotiate with probably three or four different people whose funding timescale is completely different to the next partner. One position we have at the moment is that we have 50 per cent of the funding from a regeneration initiative: the other 50 per cent might not come through for four months and we have to lay people off. It is terribly, practically difficult. Anything that can be done to streamline it and make it more together would be much better.

  139. Do Groundwork have similar problems?
  (Mr Hawkhead) We do. It is extremely difficult to have joined-up government when life is so complicated. There is quite strong evidence that there is a lack of a joined-up approach. Looking to the future, to give you one example which would be worth tracking, this week on Tuesday the report of the Urban Green Spaces Task Force was issued. That is proposing £100 million a year of new investment into urban green spaces. It would be wonderful to imagine that someone somewhere in Government is saying "Ah-ha, let's link that to the Environment Task Force. Let's make sure we link the two and get double value". I doubt whether that is happening. Perhaps after today.


3   Citizens Advice Bureaux.

(Mr Reeves) I am Chairman of Tomorrow's People. Tomorrow's People owes its existence interestingly to the private sector. In 1981 the Directors of Grand Met, as it was then, took the view after the Toxteth riots that they should stop saying "Somebody should do something about this" and took the view that business had a role to play, which 19 years ago seemed an original thought. They decided that employment was the area where employers could make the most impact and set up Grand Met Trust. It has gone from strength to strength. Since 1984 when it was actually fully fledged we have helped something in excess of 350,000 people into further education or employment. We are a nationally based organisation operating from Plymouth to Glasgow and from Brighton to Liverpool. We have a very strong presence here in London where we are delivering the Getting London Working model, which is financed essentially through the SRB<fu3>3, but also European funding. We are very business led. We are very much run as a not-for-dividend organisation. We are interested in surpluses, because I agree with the previous witness, only by that can you have some corporate sustainability and re-investment. Yes, we engage with partners. I should like to put it to the Committee that there is a great deal of difference between partnership, which in my view as a businessman is shared risk and reward, and collaboration. The word "partnership" is too loosely used in many of these areas. There is a vast degree of collaboration and not a great deal of partnership. The work we do is reinforcing some of the previous witness's comments but because of the limited time I do not wish to repeat points which have already been made. We are a major organisation. We have substantial backing to date from Diageo-Grand Met merged with Guinness to form Diageo-BT and other major employers. The answer has to be, in our experience, that you engage with employers and encourage employers to become involved in this process. There is a business case; we try to make the business case. I believe help with making that business case would affect the change enormously. There are leaders with the vision of Lord Sheppard who was at the heart of this when it started, who saw that a healthy back street meant a healthy high street. He had the vision to see that this was an investment not a cost.

3 Single Regeneration Budget. Back

4   Please refer to supplementary memorandum (ES 14A) submitted by the Shaw Trust, Ev 66. Back

5   Health Action Zones. Back

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