I was composing a reflective piece on the last six years; but two news stories yesterday are more important.
First, of course, there's Universal Job Match. It's not news to us, or to thousands of people, but because Frank Field MP has spoken out the media are taking notice. There are articles in the Guardian, the Independent, the Mirror and the Huffington Post which tell the story. Channel 4 News are running a story on it, and I think the Radio 2 Jeremy Vine programme has already done a feature. So, mercifully, this scandal is now out there, and there has to be action. What the DWP should do (but won't, obviously) is to take the site down immediately. They can't tinker with it because it's owned and run by a private company, so Monster should be sued for breach of contract. If it's possible, revert to the old direct.gov site which compiled vacancies from all the jobcentres. It worked. If not possible, then chuck out the idea of a single site altogether. Jobseekers should be immediately freed from the obligation to use UJM.
The second bit of news is horribly depressing. The BBC have commissioned another entertainment series from the people who brought you Benefits Street, to be called Famous, Rich and Hungry. Yes, we all have fond memories of a previous effort, Famous, Rich and Jobless, which gave A4e's Emma Harrison the chance to swan about looking as if she knew what she was doing. For an opinion on the latest offering I can't do better than Tanya Gold in the Guardian.
Before these two stories broke, Frances Ryan wrote an excellent piece in the New Statesman. The case she makes is strengthened today.