If you haven't read the Guardian piece please do so. Now, let's assume that at the time Harrison set up her Working Families Everywhere project she didn't know that the government would come up with contracts, handed out to the usual suspects, to do the work. Perhaps she envisaged only that local councils would fund it with community budgets and she could bask in the prestige. But that would surely have been naive. This government's dogma is all about private profit. So perhaps she saw no hindrance to A4e getting in on the action. But in all the publicity she was manoevred into saying that she would not be making any money out of it. There is some confusion in the article. "Harrison told the Guardian she withdrew from bidding when the government announced the first tranche of contracts, worth £200m, in February. She said she had accepted the unpaid role but had been 'shocked' to learn there would be hundreds of millions of pounds in funding. 'Chris Grayling told me he had got £200m. It was a bit of a shock … I thought: 'Oh crikey, that makes me feel a bit awkward. We will have to withdraw (from the bidding).'" How could A4e have already bid before the contracts were announced? What had they bid for? Am I missing something?
But there was a way out of this dilemma, a way to make money. Set up something under a different name and go for sub-contracts. Not as lucrative, but better than nothing. The "partnership" with the "former civil servant who until this year was running the Department for Education's 'support services for families with multiple needs'" will not surprise those who follow the revolving door of business, civil servants and politicians in this government's administration. And the DWP is right, there is no legal impediment to this arrangement. But it could be a PR disaster. Cameron may well want to distance himself from Harrison, and the "advisory group" could decide that they've been conned. As for the families who are supposed to be the beneficiaries - well, they're irrelevant.