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17 June 2008
Child Poverty Action Group are prominent supporters of a £528 per ticket Welfare to Work Conference at which David Freud is one of the keynote speakers.

welfare to work convention Other speakers include the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, James Purnell, and Lesley Strathie, Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

CPAG’s logo appears alongside the DWP and Jobcentre Plus logos on all the publicity material for the conference, taking place on 25 and 26 June in Birmingham. In addition, the campaigning group are running a joint workshop with the DWP on child poverty.

Organisers of the conference, the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion, boast that it is intended to help deliver a ‘reformed welfare state’. They claim that the conference works ‘because it is a partnership event. We are working with the Department for Work & Pensions, Jobcentre Plus, the Learning & Skills Council, and other government departments to put a cutting edge programme together.’

Speed Dating
Exhibitors at the event include A4E, Jobcentre Plus, Reed in Partnership and Parkhouse Bell/ Carley Consult Ltd. One of the highlights of the convention is a series of 'speed dating events' organised by the DWP and ERSA, an umbrella body for welfare to work providers such as A4E and Reed in Partnership. As publicity for the conference explains 'ERSA and DWP are playing matchmaker, giving organisations interested in delivering Flexible New Deal the chance to pitch their services to potential partners'.

Fran Parry of ERSA said: "Whilst this is a light hearted approach the intent is serious. ERSA and DWP are aiming to provide a relaxed atmosphere for potential partners to discover how they might work together effectively for the benefit of Flexible New Deal customers. We do hope you will join in."

Benefits and Work has noted elsewhere the recent silence on the part of David Freud. He is, perhaps, being permitted to speak on this occasion as the DWP can be certain he will be amongst friends and because this event seems to be primarily an opportunity to bring agencies interested in getting their hands on DWP cash together with the people at the DWP who can hand it out.

For those who can afford the cost of inclusion, details of the conference are available here.