I heard the term ‘Creaming and Parking’ recently in relation to private companies working to support long term unemployed individuals back into work. The criticism is that these companies are creaming off those individuals who are the most employable and simply pushing them towards the first opportunity that comes their way and parking the most vulnerable individuals because the level of support that they would need to achieve a positive outcome is too high. The obvious consequence being that some are getting no service at all and others are getting the service that suits the service provider and not the service user.
Creaming and Parking is not unique to unemployment services. Simon On The Streets is (and has been for years) fighting against this kind of approach that leaves the most vulnerable with no support. The worrying thing is that now the full implications of the economic downturn are starting to hit commissioned services in all areas of social support there’s a real chance this approach will intensify as commissioners start to see ‘Creaming’ as a demonstration value for money. And when the most vulnerable tend to exhibit problematic or anti-social behaviour the most cost effective thing to do is point them out as bad people who don’t deserve support.
In our drive to get the most efficient services we can’t allow the most vulnerable to be left unsupported.