SWAN Statement condemning the corporate sponsorship of the 2018 Social Worker of the Year by Capita and Children & Young People Now Awards by Ingeus
SWAN is extremely concerned at the level of corporate sponsorship creeping back into those annual events where we cherish and celebrate those in the workforce who represent best practice and individual achievement.
It is with alarm that we learn that the multi-national outsourcing giant CAPITA has been allowed to sponsor the ‘Championing Social Work Values’ category, in the forthcoming 2018 Social Worker of the Year Awards. This is particularly ironic given that CAPITA has a such poor track record of championing the type of ‘values’ we espouse, when it comes to its own actions.
CAPITA is the Home Office’s immigration enforcement contractor. It recently sent a SMS text message to a Windrush generation member, Gladstone Wilson aged 62, telling him that he needed to leave the country as ‘soon as possible’. Capita is also contracted by the Department for Work and Pensions to carry out Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments which brutalise and impoverish disabled claimants and those with mental health needs, but under this government “cruelty can be lucrative”. The DWP has been resisting calls to release documents that would highlight just how much they know about Capita’s failings, since 2016.
In a joint venture with the Barnet Council, a capital investment manager working for CAPITA defrauded the Council of over £2 million. He was jailed after pleading guilty, but sloppy financial control and poor accountability in the contract allowed the manager to make 62 fraudulent payments – ripping off the people of Barnet. CAPITA has been heavily criticised by Unison for its work with Barnet Council.
A damming report published by the National Audit Office investigation earlier this year, concluded that CAPITA’s performance had fallen a ‘long way below’ an acceptable standard. Service failures included its role within the NHS where there is a catalogue of 500,000 patient registration letters backlogged, medical supplies not being delivered, and delays or loss of patients’ medical records all of which had ‘put patients at risk’ it said.
Meanwhile, the media publication ‘Children and Young People Now’ has recruited the multi-national company Ingeus to sponsor its ‘Youth Volunteering and Social Action Award’. Here we find yet another company making millions out of the unemployed by providing welfare-to-work schemes. Ingeus does not recognise Trade Unions. In the north-east of England in 2012, Ingeus was referred almost 28,000 jobless people and got only 920 into sustained employment, a success rate of 3.3%.
SWAN seriously questions whether CAPITA and Ingeus should really be given the privileges of being associated with the awards when their own ability to respect dignity, competence, social justice and service is woeful. SWAN believes that CAPITA and Ingeus’ involvement with these awards is incompatible with social work and social care, and nothing short of a cynical device on their part to attract more business and to advance the corporate capture of social work and children’s services. They should be shown the door!
Disabled People Against Cuts
Recovery in the Bin
Shaping Our Lives
Mental Health Resistance Network
Social Work Without Borders
Suzy Croft (Registered social worker & ‘Social Worker of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award Winner 2016)
Professor Peter Beresford (University of Essex)