Wednesday, 21 March 2012

A4e, and voluntary work experience - the facts?

A4e has published another piece on its own website which it says is "the facts behind the coverage".  It was probably a press release, but the press haven't taken it up.  It includes statements which are more spin than substance.  For instance, A4e "outperformed the market average in meeting performance targets on: New Deal for Disabled People; Pathways to Work; and Flexible New Deal in each of the geographical regions in which we operated with the exception of London."  (my italics)  It didn't meet performance targets.  Nobody did.  They even say, further down, "No provider met the bid targets."  So they can't even say, "We did better than most of the others" without putting a misleading spin on it.  
Then there's the statement, "For every £1 spent by the Government on our Work Programme services, we deliver back £1.95 in revenue to the taxpayer."  It's in bold, so important.  But what does it mean?  There are no meaningful results yet on which to base it.
The piece moves on to the "current allegations" and states: "Between 2006 and 2009, there were 14 prosecutions for fraud among all welfare to work providers working with DWP. Out of these 14 cases, only the one mentioned above, in May 2008, concerned A4e."  (That's the Slough case.)  They have a point here.  A4e has been singled out somewhat unfairly.
They then re-state their position on their review of controls and procedures, governance and "erroneous reports".  They tell us again that "Emma Harrison has resigned as a Director and Chairman of A4e. As a result, she no longer participates in Board meetings."  But what they don't address is the one fact which brought this storm on them - Emma's millions.

On Tuesday the Guardian published an important article headlined " Jobseekers who shunned voluntary scheme forced to do unpaid work".  It shows that people who have opted out of the voluntary scheme have been put on the mandatory programme in what seems to them to be retaliation.  The paper has evidence to back this, and says: "Guidance given to Jobcentre staff on mandatory work and obtained through freedom of information requests says advisers may, at their discretion, use dropping out or refusing to participate in voluntary schemes as grounds for MWA.  A claimant 'dropping-out' of an employment measure prematurely may, or may not, indicate a lack of focus and discipline on their part.  It is for advisory teams to consider the merits of MWA referral on a case-by-case basis."  The DWP's response is to waffle without denying the facts.  Well worth a read.


  1. "As a result, she no longer participates in Board meetings."

    While that might be strictly true its not actually reality. Emma's PA (the one who had the blog thats now not there) still works here only her job title is now something very simular to "Shareholder Liaison Manager" and of course attends meetings.

    Its not hard to work out whats really going on.

  2. They might be supporting one person into work every 7 minutes but is it the same person over and over again?


Keep it clean, please. No abusive comments will be approved, so don't indulge in insults. If you wish to contact me, post a comment beginning with "not for publication".