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Top players in work programme cash in

10 November 2006 – All key players in the controversial and expensive 2001 Mega Jobs Fair have found employment with the Boer & Croon consultancy, the same company that was contracted for organising the fair, Binnenlands Bestuur reports.

As part of the Mega Jobs Fair, all social assistance recipients were called to a warehouse in West, to see whether they could not find a job. The project further aimed to deal with the administrative chaos at the social assistance agency.

The minister who prompted the initiative, Willem Vermeend, is now employed by Boer & Croon, Binnenlands Bestuur reports. The same applies to the director of the Mega Jobs Fair, Roy Mungra.

The alderman at the time, Jaap van der Aa, has done freelance work for Boer & Croon. He was also in negotiations about a job with the consultancy at a time when the contract with the same consultancy for organising the Mega Jobs Fair still had to be signed.

André Jansen, director of the Social Assistance Agency at the time, did work for Boer & Croon when he was still employed by the municipality, although not as a director anymore. He responds in Binnenlands Bestuur: “What people think of this? I do not know. I only know that I had an agreement with the municipality at the time and that it did not object”.

Last year, a debate has been going on in the Parool newspaper about Boer & Croon, which often employs former public administrators. Columnist Felix Rottenberg found it shameless that “former aldermen do not ask themselves at all whether it is decent to do expensive consultancy jobs for their successors”.

The consultancy would have written a ‘worthless rubbishy report’ about potential sources of funding for the At5 television channel. Editor in Chief Erik van Zwam told the Parool at the time: “To my great surprise, I quickly heard that Boer & Croon had been selected. Later, other consultancies told me that they would have liked to compete for the contract, but that they had not known about it”.

Chairman of the Board Willem van der Schoot (photo) responded in the same newspaper by suggesting that the criticism results from the unorthodox methods of his consultancy. “This is not a profession in which you make only friends”. He also said that he sometimes loses contracts ‘because they find us too expensive’. The consultancy charges 600 to 2,500 euro per day. For organising the Mega Jobs Fair, it received 11 million euro.

The Bijstandsbond, an organisation of social assistance recipients, and the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV) criticised the intimidating approach, which created ‘a lot of fear and stress’ among social assistance recipients who had done nothing wrong. The Bijstandsbond met with 200 visitors of the Fair. Especially elderly people often panicked when they received the call to report to the Jobs Fair.

An evaluation revealed that the Mega Jobs Fair had helped some jobseekers find work, but a much lower number than intended. In addition, the administrative files were still in chaos after the project. According to the Parool, Boer & Croon was fully paid despite the disappointing results, because the terms of the contract had been altered.


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