WALTER CRONXITE reports that a council job brokerage scheme has spent just £1,000 in the past year on training for unemployed local residents, but paid more than £100,000 on staff to manage the project
Croydon Council last month issued a proud boast that it had played a role in securing employment for 100 people through its jobs brokerage scheme, Croydon Works.
As the council’s propaganda department trumpeted this success, giving full credit to Councillor Mark Watson, one thing that they failed to mention was that that each one of those jobs has cost the Council Tax-payers of Croydon:
According to a Freedom of Information request submitted on behalf of Inside Croydon, the council revealed that in less than a year, Croydon has spent a grand total of £123,000 on Croydon Works.
Possibly most disappointing about the spending breakdown on Croydon Works for the 100 jobs it has created is that just £1,000 – less than 1 per cent – of the scheme budget has been used in the past year on job-related training for Croydon residents.
But according to Watson, “Croydon Works is doing a fantastic job”.
“Croydon Works is helping local people into local jobs, which is great news for Croydon’s economy,” Watson was quoted as saying by the council’s propaganda department (which is a bit of a job creation scheme of its own, costing the borough more than £500,000 per year).
“To have helped over 100 local people who were unemployed into the work and into training is a real achievement,” said Watson, who is part of Gang of Four who control the Labour group at the Town Hall.
According to the press release, “Croydon Works launched last July to ensure Croydon residents benefit from the employment opportunities created through the borough’s regeneration, particularly those with barriers to employment.
“The free-to-use professional recruitment service is designed to provide Croydon employers with job-ready local, qualified employees, and residents with the support and training they need to find sustainable, quality jobs locally.”
Which is all laudable, but so far, on average per month, Croydon Works has managed to place fewer than a dozen residents in jobs, despite considerable outlay.
The type of jobs which Croydon Works is brokering also appear to be mainly low-skilled and low-paid.
The council press release cited the example of a labourer for a firm of builders, plus it mentions local cleaning services and working at Boozepark, an organisation which despite receiving a £3million loan from the council is still not accredited as a Living Wage employer, as per the Labour council’s policy.
In Croydon Works’ first year, there may have been additional, set-up costs than in future years. But the £123,000 figure is simply the amount spent on Croydon Works by the council. There may have been more public money spent on the scheme, since it also involved Croydon College and JobCentre Plus, but the council was unable to provide details of their financial spend.
- According to Croydon Council, since April 2016, it has spent £100,000 on staffing for the Croydon Works scheme. So at least someone is being well-paid as a result of the scheme.
- Another £12,000 has been spent on what they describe as “Overheads (Premises, Room Hire, Telephone)”.
- Then there was £2,000 spent on “Media, communications and promotion”.
- A chunky £8,000 went on “Website and database development and maintenance”. Has no one at the council heard of WordPress?
- And then, finally, the desultory £1,000 on “Training for Croydon residents”.
The numbers did not impress other Town Hall figures. “It’s another example where more time is spent on PR and spin by the council’s leadership than actually delivering the services that residents expect and need,” a Katharine Street source said today.
“Councillor Watson is very capable of finding ways of spending public money. But where’s the return on investment here? The worst thing about these figures from the council is the pitiful amount that has actually been spent providing training for Croydon’s unemployed.
“That thousand quid demonstrates that this is less about putting people into real jobs, and more about PR for council leader Tony Newman and his cronies.”
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