So is A4e any different from its competitors?
One obvious point of difference is in the amount of publicity the firms seek. In the case of Serco et al that's nil. They don't need it, and don't get it. That's why their dominance has crept up on people. But for A4e, or at least for its boss, publicity is an essential strategy. There are a few signs, however, that this hunger for the limelight may be counter-productive. The words, "Anybody but A4e" have been uttered by people in local councils.