I've used Fairplace too - I agree with Cynic, the environment is very helpful, however it is a sweeping generalisation to say all redundancies/easing out of employees is strategic. I felt I was genuinely mis-matched with my old job long before I even took it but was in the classic situation of having little choice but to take it or try a fruitless career change. I've had redundancies before where I didn't have to worry because I was leaving a job where I had done well, so I know the difference.
The thing I learnt, no thanks to Fairplace, was that I actually wasn't the right match for the lateral move I planned and that the reasons for my last redundancy weren't idiosyncrasies of my employer but industry specific and that there is little lateral movement in my industry. This took 6 months, which is a brutally inefficient process and my finances are under threat as, even tho I feel I'm finding my way, it is very difficult.
I'm not going to go any further as I know people will still not get it no matter how graphic I am, but I do need to warn people that are in similar situations. If you are in an industry or situation where transferable skills aren't valued and where it's difficult to get out of then even the better firms like Fairplace won't really be able to help. If your employer pays, it's worth trying but please take what they say with a pinch of salt, as there's a lot of clichés. For instance one seminar the presenter wittered on about all CVs being the same in a typical application process and the clichéd urban myth of a line manger using a random selection process by tossing all CVs against a basket, when I know from being on the other side of the process in my market that the issue is that usually 3-5 of the 100 applicants stand a chance. From my experience, this means that the issue isn't so much approach but finding the right career and role where you consistently find yourself in those 3-5. The process of finding that career and getting that CV in front of the right people largely self driven BUT outplacement firms do not play their part.
The one issue in that respect that many firms of this type can't seem to address at all is networking - seminars are all and well, but it is a bit like trying to search for terrorists using Google if you leave clients too much to their own devices. I.e. not impossible, but unreasonable and generally there aren't any specialist firms out there that will have the right contacts for you to return your career back on track. That is generally only because there are one or two that have the right contacts, but largely speaking you are better of consulting people that have left your current career. Think about it 1-10% of your network will be the ones that can maybe help you change career, the rest will help you get your old job back - all and well if that's what suits but if not you're in a pretty sticky situation.
In terms of people looking for jobs they do have mixed results. The consultants at Fairplace aren't too bad as there is effort put into specialism e.g. banking related clients will go with one, IT with another, based on consultant's experience. That has worked for many of the individuals I met that were simply let go, as opposed to eased out but because of the market they're not as effective as they once were.
To sum - use them if your employer pays and take what they say with a pinch of salt, but for career change best thing is to find someone that understands your situation thoroughly.