Croydon ‘Works’ – at a cost of £1,230 for every job placement

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.

Mark Watson at the launch of Croydon Works. But at what cost?

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.”

Labouring is good, honest work. But does it take £123,000 of council money to place residents into such jobs?

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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1 Response to Croydon ‘Works’ – at a cost of £1,230 for every job placement

  1. Andy Harland says:

    Dear Walter,

    It would appear you have literally no idea how the creation, development, management and operation of a service like this works.
    You do not get results overnight. To achieve 100 job starts within the first year of operation is a fantastic achievement.

    Questions to the author:
    1. How many staff are there in the team? Have you done any research? Staffing costs are always the highest impact on business outside of premises. The outlay of £100,000 likely funds three to four members of staff only (if that).
    2. Are you aware of the complexity involved in developing new business relationships to gain the trust of local companies to take on new staff? Let alone staff that are supplied via free council brokerage service. Staff that are unemployed local people – that many businesses may have ill-informed opinions of the local unemployed.
    3. Of the 100 residents employed – how many we’re long term unemployed? (6months +). I’ll give you some very basic publicly available data:

    Croydon overall unemployment level – (claimant count out of work benefits) is 1.8% higher than the London average. Nearly 2% higher than the national average.
    As of July 2017 there are 9220 people listed as unemployed. Of this number nearly 75% are over 25 and between 25 – 50+
    I would absolutely be certain that the majority of local unemployed are in receipt of ESA and are ‘long term unemployed’ (6 months+). therefore, the time it takes on average to support a person from these categories into employment (ad ensure it is sustainable) is on average a minimum of three months (per person).

    Next: How much does it cost per unemployed person, per year to the Government? Both local and central – approx. £8000. So, even if this is averaged out lower than the national average – let’s say £6000 then the reduction on the tax payer is £600,000 gross.

    How about local people working locally, to benefit local businesses? The majority of the jobs gained would be local to Croydon. So this brings economic gain to the borough… more local people working, more ability to spend locally, travel locally and encourage via word of mouth the service that only works with local residents.

    4. “Low paid and low skilled” – Excellent journalism. Just another guess by whoever has written this article. Jobs in the construction industry will soon become (If not already) Croydon’s no1 growth sector. Have you considered the impact of Brexit? Have you considered that by training local people to work on local developments they will have the greatest chance of developing a career in the industry? Have you considered that you just cannot start any job within the construction industry? Have you considered that senior managers of the worlds largest construction companies often start as labourers?

    5. Is a scheme to support local unemployed people a bad idea? The borough is experiencing growth in new business opportunity and the jobs market is growing. Would you prefer local people found employment in other boroughs? Wandsworth for example – a borough where there are thousands of jobs being created between now and 2030?

    6. You quote low training costs. Yet bemoan the high cost of the website. It is my understanding that the website is intrinsically linked to a detailed CRM system, which in turn advertises vacancies – this will allow the brokerage management team to provide a professional employment service. WordPress? Yes – it’s alright for a free platform and I’m sure you’re a fan – but it is no where near professional looking or marginally functional enough for the complex need. Let alone secure. Would you rather the potential loss of data through a wordpress site of your fellow local residents?

    I’d agree, the training cost does appear to be low- but then, what other training is available right now? What other free provision is the brokerage utilising? – I would imagine, plenty. Because there’s plenty out there. So – why spend another £30-40,000 on training when you can use already existing services and develop new partnerships.

    Training does not always guarantee job output. Although if training is bespoke, business led and meets the requirements of modern day skills needs, then it will successfully transition those that are unemployed into employment. Don’t be too hung up over the small amount spent on training without looking into it in much more detail.

    7. (and finally) – What would you do? you’ve got the same budget – go on – spend it. On an employment service for local people. Why not give a full summary of your first three months in the job as the service manager – how much would you expect to be paid (don’t forget to include the on boarding costs too – Tax / N.I). I’d absolutely love a reply to this ridiculous article, because it is clear your agenda is not for the good of your fellow residents, people in genuine need. It is for your own gain and the sole purpose of complaining against the council. A council that in times of austerity are taking a risk at offering a non statutory service, for the good of local people who are at the highest need and that central Government do not consider a priority.

    P.S Do you remember the summer of 2011? Cut services like this and who knows.. maybe those that are marginalised, those that need help the most, those that have never been given the confidence that their local council, let alone the Government care will rise again… I do not condone the scenes of 2011 whatsoever, but there is good reason that took place in Croydon and you really are not helping the issue whatsoever.

    Do feel free to get in touch. I absolutely welcome your reply.

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