Articles by Richard Johnson
Richard was Managing Director of Serco Welfare to Work from 2007 to 2011. He currently works with local authorities and the voluntary sector providing strategic advice and support. He is involved in social investment and is a Specialist Adviser to the Work and Pensions Select Committee during their enquiry into the Work Programme.
Competition killed the cat
“Serco is certainly guilty of a lack of imagination. It has grown to where it is on the back of years of outsourcing, with successive governments of every colour looking to use contracting in order to cut the perceived waste in public sector delivery.” Richard Johnson looks at the experience of Serco in the outsourcing of public services.
The path to the precipice
“We are blithely rushing along a path towards a fundamental change in our welfare system that will have far-reaching social and fiscal consequences. There is a perfect storm of a poorly contracted Work Programme, political rhetoric, and short-term accounting practice.” Richard Johnson looks at the debate on the next round of welfare reform.
Spend to offend (the outsourcing of probation)
Richard Johnson writing on Buying QP argues that despite the rhetoric about a “rehabilitation revolution”, the outsourcing of probation… “has the potential to deliver more efficient and effective probation services but is unlikely to have a significant impact on recidivism rates.”
“[C]an the Work Programme work for all user groups? The short answer is: no, two years after launch, it is clearly failing the most disadvantaged jobseekers.” Richard Johnson explains why the Work Programme isn’t working - and why its failure holds important lessons for other areas of welfare reform.
“Instead of cutting the cost of welfare by cutting the demand for it, the Chancellor may have found a different solution to runaway [social security spending] …a fundamental change in the way governments manage their finances was tucked away in the Budget.” Richard Johnson examines the implications of a decision that could have far-reaching consequences.
Endemic ‘creaming and parking’ on the Work Programme
“On the basis of the modeling I undertook when tendering for these (Work Programme) contracts, given the discounts widely offered, about 30% of the jobseekers might find and keep jobs. For the other 70%, there will be little or no assistance.” Richard Johnson argues that the design of the Work Programme makes creaming and parking of clients by prime contractors inevitable.