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A voluntary community organisation, which has got more than twice as many Hackney residents into Olympic jobs than the professional agency employed to do so, say their methods of working could save local authorities thousands of pounds.

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Over the last six months, jobs brokerage Onsite, which is commissioned by Hackney Council, has recruited 150 people to work in security, retail, catering, cleaning, transport and logistics positions this summer.

Meanwhile, Telco (The East London Communities Organisation) has recruited 400 with a voluntary team, by organising just three jobs fairs in the borough.

Telco claims their existing network of grassroots contacts has enabled them to cut through bureaucratic red tape.

While Onsite mainly holds weekly drop-in sessions at the council’s service centre and will generally wait for people to get in touch with them after reading flyers or press notices, Telco volunteers personally approach people through the organisation’s member schools, churches and mosques and persuade them to give it a go.

Message

Tricia Zipfel, Telco co-chairwoman for Hackney, said: “I would have thought if we can do that through volunteers working informally but being rooted in local community institutions that has a strong message for agencies and the authorities who are trying to do the same thing through more formal channels.

“I think there’s an issue about the money, in that Telco on a voluntary basis without using public money has achieved better results than agencies, which are being paid to do it,” she added.

While Telco estimates they have spent £50 per job secured, Onsite is paid four times as much per job by the council once the applicant is successful and starts work.

The council has set itself a target of getting 1,200 residents into Games-time jobs, and with just four months left to go, 700 residents have received offers.

Cllr Guy Nicholson cabinet member for regeneration and the Olympics and Paralympics, said in a statement that Hackney Council was still focused on getting the borough’s residents into work and was working with various agencies and organisations to do so.

“Onsite are one of these organisations and they provide an intensive service for applicants and give support and advice throughout the application process,” he said.

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