The news couldn't be much worse for A4e. The MailOnline, which has savaged Emma Harrison and A4e in the last few days, now reports that A4e iis at the centre of a fraud investigation. "The Department for Work and Pensions confirmed last night that a probe into A4e – headed by Mrs Harrison – was under way. A source at the company told The Mail on Sunday that on Friday afternoon, officers from Thames Valley Police visited the company’s offices in Slough, Berkshire. The source said they stayed for up to four hours and demanded staff hand over documents and computer files dating back two years." Apparently what's being investigated is the allegation that "the company had put some people in jobs for just one day, but claimed the funding nonetheless."
Anyone connected with the industry will be scratching their heads at this. Under the 2006 contracts (I don't know about subsequent ones) it was perfectly possible to do this in certain circumstances. A client gets a job, to start on Monday morning; so the provider fills in the paperwork on the Friday afternoon and sends it back to the Jobcentre, which signs the client off benefits. The client turns up to work but decides at the end of the day that he doesn't want to do this and walks out. This is still claimable as a job outcome if the employer signs that the job was intended to last for 13 weeks. They won't get the other half of the money, which is payable only when the client has stayed in the job for 13 weeks. If this is what's being investigated, then A4e will probably be in the clear. But we'll wait and see.