Back in April we reported that the Exaro website was saying that A4e was the preferred bidder for the Home Office's contract to run the Equalities and Human Rights Commission helpline. Given all that was going on at the time it was not surprising that the Daily Mail took up the story. Well, Exaro now reveals that A4e hasn't got that contract, which has gone to an American company, Sitel, which has beaten the CAB as well as A4e.
It's difficult to know what was really going on here. Exaro naturally wants to claim credit for its previous revelations. "A spokeswoman for A4e claimed that it had never been the preferred bidder and so did not really lose the contract, saying that the award process 'was discontinued earlier this year and we understand that a revised contract award procedure was launched. A4e did not enter this revised procurement process.'" But Exaro claims that the EHRC has confirmed that A4e had been the preferred bidder originally. Who knows? Perhaps the Home Office decided to scrap the tendering process when the storm broke, and re-opened it after advising A4e not to bother. Does this tell us anything about future contracts? probably not.
Mark Serwotka, leader of the PCS union, is glad that A4e lost out, but doesn't want the helpline privatised at all.