The Public Accounts Committee heard evidence of fraud at A4e today - but in private. According to the Daily Mail, this followed a row between Labour and Conservative members of the committee. Three whistle-blowers handed over a "damning dossier". The Mail doesn't say whether the whistle-blowers were A4e staff. Apparently the secrecy was so that the evidence didn't interfere with a possible police investigation. Robert Devereux was back giving evidence; he's the permanent secretary at the DWP. He conceded that the evidence sounded damning, but much of it was to do with old programmes and couldn't happen now. That's all right then. We must wait for a fuller account of events (come on, Guardian) to find out the rest of what went on.
The Mail, naturally, has picked up the story about an A4e client in Bootle getting a job in a lap-dancing club. It's the perfect excuse for the Mail to publish a large picture of what looks to me more like pole-dancing (but what do I know?). And I begin to feel a little bit sorry for A4e. The Exaro account, picked up by the mainstream media, assumes that the client was sent to the club by A4e for a job. But it's more likely, surely, that a client found a job there off his or her own bat. And in that case, why shouldn't A4e claim the job outcome?
Are we going to see more prosecutions? Or was the point of the secret hearings that the government would prefer to just bury this?