7 January 2010

Ceremonial swordCurrent and former staff at the DWP and private sector welfare to work millionaires did well in the New Year's Honours list.

Emma Harrison, multi-millionaire founder of A4E and star of one edition of Benefits Busters received a CBE.  Her company is the largest provider of welfare to work placements under the Pathways to Work scheme.

Other welfare to work providers given honours include Martin Dunford, chief executive of Skills Training UK and Janette Faherty, chief executive of Advanta Enterprises Ltd.  Both received OBEs.

Former Chief Scientist at the DWP, and now Chair of the UnumProvident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research, Professor Mansel Aylward received a knighthood. 

The centre, bankrolled by an American insurance giant which has been the subject of class actions by sick and disabled US citizens, has been one of the leading forces in trying to make it less likely that people will be signed off sick by their GPs. Staff from Unum were prominent in the design of the original all work test for incapacity benefit and also the much harsher work capability assessment for ESA. Aylward has, in addition, been involved in research for Dame Carol Black and her infamous ‘well-notes’.

Aylward is one of only a few people ever to be knighted when they were already a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).  Aylward reportedly said that he felt  “humbled” by his award.  Emails we’ve received from members on hearing the news also expressed strong, though rather different, emotions.

A total of 16 DWP executives and other staff also received MBEs, presumably for their outstandingly efficient services to the  great British public over the last year.


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