Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Half a page in Private Eye

Yes, the latest edition of Private Eye devotes half a page to the continuing saga of A4e.  While there's nothing new, there are some interesting elaborations on what we already know.
There has been speculation that the system of giving bonuses to staff who get somebody into a job fuelled the temptation to cut corners and even commit fraud.  A4e actually admitted to MPs that the practice "may have been a driver for individual malpractice".  But Rob Murdoch said that he thought the problem had been solved by moving to group bonuses.  I doubt it.  It doesn't cure the culture of relentless pressure to reach targets and make money.  As we have said, A4e isn't the only company to use bonuses for job outcomes, but it seems to be the only one in which the practice has resulted in scandal.
The article cites what happened in Edinburgh over local claimants' battle to be represented by a support group known as ECAP.  This is something we reported on in the past.  Two people were "sanctioned" simply because they insisted on having an ECAP member with them at interviews with A4e.  Both won their cases at tribunal.
Finally the writer turns to the two new contracts for prison education, provisionally awarded to A4e.  He reports that the two most recent Ofsted inspections of A4e's prison contracts were pretty damning and wonders how they could be given new ones.

I'm sad to see that the owner of a blog which has been tireless in its criticism of the treatment of the unemployed has decided to wage war on Watching A4e.  His conclusions are bizarre, and I won't waste time trying to answer them.  I don't suppose it will help to say that we are both on the same side, although our approaches are different.

There seems to have been a hiccup in the comments notification recently, so apologies to anyone who left a reasonable comment which was published late or not at all.  


  1. The fact that A4e continue to get contracts, despite their poor performance, is the most bewildering thing for most people, especially the UK taxpayer.

  2. A fifth arrest of an A4e staff member made today by Thames Valley Police at their Slough HQ!

  3. Are A4E partners with BAE the global weapons systems company? and do A4E operate in israel? would that not be illegal for a uk company? if A4E are partners with BAE could a person refuse to attend A4E under any capacity due to being anti war? any comments?

    1. Please don't start doing this again! In what sense are A4e partners with BAE? And no, it's not illegal to operate in Israel. There was a point when A4e got a contract in Israel to work in occupied territories, when that was against UK government policy, but I don't think that applies now.

  4. We have always welcomed your site. There has been commentary on some aspects on the Ipswich Unemployed Action site.

    There is more than one person who runs it.

    We are a democratic lot, and the criticisms of here by one person were met with an answer in defence by another - me.


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