Wednesday, 30 October 2013
An early morning start today (I hate early mornings), for breakfast in the Commons with a key MP whose identity I will protect! An unhealthy bacon butty but no doubt I'll walk it off over the day...
The main event was the launch of the acevo/Shaw Trust report on the Work Programme (WP), "Refinement not reinvention". Worth reading - you can find it here: http://www.acevo.org.uk/document.doc?id=2623.
It was good to get the new Employment Minister Esther McVey to the launch in Whitehall. And doubly good to get the opposition shadow Stephen Timms along as well. Rather impressed with Esther; someone who has had a real job before the Commons, in her family business in demolition and then in media and in various TV programmes like Channel 4's "Nothing but the Truth" (as I said in introducing Esther; useful for DWP in particular).
The key point for the third sector is that whilst we know many of the shortcomings of the WP (and there were many in the design of the programme), the architecture can work. In designing the new contracts for 2016 we can learn from how the WP has gone, and change it, but we don't want it all to be abolished. That will create more uncertainty for the sector, not to mention the consequences for those we are trying to help.
I had a word with Stephen Timms afterwards to make that point, especially in terms of Labour's job guarantee proposal, but the programme can be built on that.
On from the Launch to lunch with Michael Pragnell, who Chairs Cancer Research UK. We were getting together to talk about the whole CEO pay saga, but more widely to discuss the work of one of the world's most prestigious charities; the research that is going on into cancer cure and prevention is remarkable.