The Derby Telegraph posted an article on 22 April seemingly as a response to my piece entitled “JET Derby (Jobs,Education, & Training) – Who really benefited from the £118,000 Derby City Council contract – not the unemployed Roma!” dated March 31st 2015.
The article brings no new information to the public and doesn’t contradict any of the facts that I presented. It is silent on many important issues. It merely reports, that Sharief has “declared it a success” 5 months after the end of the contract and final payment. If it was a success why was there a delay in publicising it?
So was it a success as Sharief declares?
A project which was contractually targeted to find 25% of the participants (50 people) [confirmed in Derby City Council FOI request] substantive jobs and, which only achieved 29, is not a success. It was a success for JET because they got paid the full 20% (£23,600) [Confirmed by Derby City Council FOI request] element of the contract despite not delivering the defined number by a significant margin.
The headline number of “98” includes 69 people who were “able to continue with further education or training” [DT 22/4/15]. It is not clear what this actually means, how relevant it is, and whether it was just manufactured to bolster the meagre job numbers. This was not a success measure in the contract. It implies that the other 107 (205 participants minus 98 headline ) people were not able to do any further education or training, as well as not getting a job. Was it a success for them?
The specific, measurable outcomes defined in the contract were [Derby City Council FOI request]
• improved English language skills
• improved confidence in accessing services
• improved job search skills
• improved employability
• reduced reliance upon direct support for job search
• improved understanding of barriers to employment and solutions
This reads as something more concrete than just “being able to continue with further education or training” for less than 50% of the participants. Surely all participants should have left with a competent level in all of these aspects. That would have been success?
The European Social Fund contract effectively precluded support for economic migrants from within the EU. Apparently the final contract did say that, if there was a problem with engaging the original target groups, JET would “focus on Asians/Africans and refugees/asylum seekers from the Arab Spring Countries”.[DT 22/4/15]
This was never declared in any of the Derby City Council FOI responses.
Yet the final breakdown of the 205 participants:
“….included 152 of Asian descent, 13 black or black British African and 12 white British” [DT 22/4/15]
The reference to asylum seekers is superfluous as they are not legally allowed to seek work until refugee status has been confirmed. I assume that people from Arab Spring countries would be categorised as “black” which, at best, would be a sub-set of the 13. This does not support the aspiration for a broad spectrum of people being helped that the revised contractual terms contemplated. Only only 1 Black person secured a job ( there is not sufficient detail to determine if this person was British, or a refugee/migrant)
So in what way was it a success for refugees from Africa, and the Arab Spring countries, of which there are many in Derby desperately trying to get into employment, when less than 10% of the participants were from this significant population. It appears that it was not a success for them.
It is clear that the picture editor has not ventured down Normanton Road recently, as the sight of people queuing up outside the JET offices is a distant memory. Most days the reception area is very lightly occupied and, at times, during core working hours, totally empty. The caption (Eastern European migrants queued around the block at JET to get help with finding jobs) is somewhat irrelevant as no East Europeans were helped by this programme.
The Telegraph has lived up to its name as an “ apparatus for transmitting messages” not as one that has the journalistic credentials of independent investigation. My article recommended many questions that they could have asked – did they pose these to Sharief, or were they simply interested in generating bland content to placate their advertisers, and at the same time to be exploited as a PR platform by someone who has many questions to answer. Questions that members of the public and Councillors would like to know the answers to…..but, apparently, not the Derby Telegraph.
I look forward to seeing the JET accounts for the year ending 31 March 2015 and the clear evidence of £118,000 additional costs which they claimed under this contract. There was no sign of any incremental spending in the 3 months to 31 March 2014, despite the payment of £34k.