Today is Pancake Day, but long before it was called that it was Shrove Tuesday. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, when people would fast, so on the Tuesday they confessed their sins and were "shriven" - forgiven by the priest. Today, then, is a day for confessions.
Why am I telling you this? Well, partly because I'm getting a bit bored with the continuing saga of Emma Harrison's embarrassment; and partly because Harrison may feel that it's relevant.
The latest episode is another onslaught from the Daily Mail. "Jobless attending courses by 'back-to-work tsar paid £8m by the Government 'were ordered to sign blank timesheets'." One of the Public Accounts Committee members who questioned A4e's Andrew Dutton last week was Fiona Mactaggart MP. She happens to be the MP for the area including Slough, where police visited A4e's offices following fraud allegations. And Mactaggart has been compiling a dossier of reports about A4e from her own constituents. One accusation is that clients were made to sign blank timesheets. That shouldn't happen, obviously, and I'm not excusing it, but it can be done for convenience rather than fraud. More serious is the accusation that a client had to sign a blank review sheet. Others talked of not getting the training they were promised, of shambolic conditions and of inappropriate treatment. Some of this happened a while ago, and A4e are saying that it can't happen now. Mactaggart is handing the dossier to the head of the National Audit Office.
As I pointed out earlier today, this will not prevent A4e from bidding for new contracts.