Wednesday, 24 October 2012

She was bullied and the figures are wrong - Emma on Channel 4 News

There has just been an astonishing interview with Emma Harrison on Channel 4 News.  There's an account of the facts on which it's based here.  It revolved around leaked performance data for the first year of the Work Programme - you can read the analysis on the Factcheck blog - which show that out of 93,127 attachments (new clients) there were only 3,400 outcomes.  Just 4%.  For that they've got £46m in fees.  The government's minimum target is 5.5%.  There was a brief explanation of who Emma Harrison is.  Then we heard from two clients.  Roland said it had taken 8 months for him to get even basic training; his sessions with A4e lasted 15 minutes and he was simply made to apply, under threat of sanctions, for jobs he knew he had no hope of getting.  Gill, a former solicitor with a 20-year career break, said that A4e were not interested in anything she said and didn't have the skills to enable them to tailor support.
A former senior manager with A4e, with his identity hidden, said that staff had "unmanageable caseloads" and were having to focus on their "top 10 targets".  He also said that customers often found their own jobs but A4e could claim for them if they showed some input, so might pay bus fares for the first week.
Krishnan Guru-Murthy revealed that in addition to the £8.6m dividend that Harrison took last year, she took a further £250,000 before stepping down.  What, he asked her, did she have to say to those customers?  The interview became an odd exchange.  Harrison insisted that a lot of the detail was wrong, including the numbers and the 4% outcomes.  A4e had told her that the numbers were wrong.  But she didn't know what the right numbers were.  She then accused Guru-Murthy of bullying her, and that word kept recurring.  They were making up stories for political reasons.  Asked about the extra dividend when they were not meeting their target, she said that she had invested £50m in the Work Programme (she appeared a bit confused at this point about what was her own money and what was A4e profits).  She is an entrepreneur who has helped tens of thousands.  She was sorry that the customers featured were not happy with the service, but then said that Roland's was "an improbable statement".
Harrison insisted that Channel 4 is biassed, having not reported that the fraud allegations had been shown to be untrue.  KGM said that they'd reported it at the start of the programme.  This was, he said, about value for money.  They appeared to disagree about why she had been asked onto the programme.  She kept using the word "bullying" and saying that figures were not true.  Why, asked KGM, did A4e say that it was a different company from 2 years ago?  She said that you could read that statement how you wanted.  Was the Work Programme set up to fail, he asked.  It was the most successful programme they've ever run, she said. Would she like to apologise to anyone else?  She said that her staff had been bullied, it had been a political maelstrom, and she was "useful to have a got at".
It was quite extraordinary, and I wonder how the current A4e bosses feel about it.  Not best pleased, I bet.


  1. Quarter of a million pound dividend - you have quoted £150k here. It's £250k by my calculations!

    1. Thanks. I was in a hurry. Corrected now.

  2. Just watchin' it now on +1, Cringeworthy - but highly amusin' watchin' enemma squirm & claim to be 'bullied'. And he claim to have 'invested tens of millions of her OWN money'. Hahaha!

    I wonder what 'jaunty' would have to say about it? I wonder if he's still up to a personal meeting with me? The offer's still there under the terms I offered in an older thread - that's if you're bothering to read this, 'jaunty'??

    'Bully'?! I can't type for dryin' my eyes with unabated mirth.

  3. And how many of the 3.65% who a4e claimed payment for, got jobs through their own endeavours, and didn't need inform them?

    This is why everybody on the WP MUST NOT GIVE CONSENT to them obtaining details of employment to obtain payment.

  4. So once again, it's Emma "poor me" Harrison.

    What made me somewhat miffed about Ms Harrison's performance was firstly her dismissive tone. The way she simply batted away and dismissed the complaint made by chap who said he was seen for as little as 15 mins a month was disgusting. Esp as she called his claim "improbable"!

    Secondly, she has the brass neck, the cheek and the sheer nerve to talk about herself and A4e staff being bullied!

    Former clients of A4e have made many claims about being bullied by A4e staff. I was one of them! I distinctly remember being shouted at by a senior member of A4e staff! So do NOT talk bullying and expect sympathy from me Emma! That said, if her kids have been bullied, that is clearly not on.

    It was funny seeing Ms Harrison claiming that she invests tens of millions of pounds of HER OWN CASH in the WP. KGM was right. A4e wealth is built on the back of PUBLIC MONEY! Ms Harrisons personal wealth (which some put at seventy million pounds) is built on the back of PUBLIC MONEY! Did she simply pick this money off trees or dig it up out of the earth?

    Lastly, THANK YOU Ch4! This interview was long, long overdue! As with the Donal McIntyre program on BBC R5L, A4e needed taking to task. Added to this, Ms Harrison needed a forensic examination in this way. For far too long, she has pushed her own and A4e's agenda without anyone questioning her figures or general competence.

  5. Emma Harrison may have chosen the wrong time to 're-launch' herself on channel 4 news tonight. Although the claims of 'fraud' surrounding a4e appear to have died down, there is still no sign of a turnaround in the work programme.

    E H did not get off on a good foot. I think a level of arrogance was to blame for her performance, or a sad lack of preparation. She interrupted KGM from the outset, unleashing a furious barrage of questioning that she seemed incapable of absorbing. E H kept refuting the figures put to her by KGM but could not support her statement with any figures of her own. At one point E H indicated she had seen the 'real' figures, but could not comment on them! She may have resigned as Chairman of a4e but it seems 'business as usual' when it comes to a4e continuing to report to her. This is unusual practice, surely?

    KGM gave E H a tough time, but as we all know these ARE tough times. Cheer up, Emma. Pour yourself a glass of champagne and throw another log on the fire in your citadel of shame.

  6. Wow,talk about living in Fantasy Land! Just watched the video,the ironic part was the statement about the figures being wrong,she refused to say what the right ones are but those are wrong.I have a feeling her agenda was more about poor bullied Emma,sitting home alone with out her adoring workers telling her how wonderful she is. The constant reference to the fact that she has invested £50 Million in the business(as all the money comes from the Taxpayer) is so far out there it is laughable,also the fact that she had to re-finance her house...Why? To finance her husbands expanding Brewery/Restaurant/Pub Empire?

  7. It's trending on Twitter. Watch it here - if you haven't seen it. And watch the conversation between KGM and Jackie Long about it here -

  8. If she has invested £50m in the business and it is failing miserably then she should foot the bill, NOT the tax payer. We don't pay taxes so that 'entrepreneurs' like herself can claim back their personal losses in failing businesses.

    As Doleitevermin pointed out I'd love to know how many of the 4% found employment unilaterally without any help from A4e.

  9. Has anyone actually thought that maybe she is not allowed to publish the figures until the government have agreed them? I for one do think that A4e have done a good job and they have found me work and had a very caring and wonderful advisor who helped me an enormous amount

    1. You're right that they're not allowed to publish the figures, but A4e have just said that the figures are out of date, not that they're wrong. Harrison just kept saying that they're wrong. I'm glad that you had a good experience with them.

  10. You'd have thought with all that money Emma Harrison would have spent some it on media training. I'd imagine the current board of A4e directors must be cringing at her performance on the Channel 4 News interview.

  11. What is A4e's magic formula or unique program or Emma Harrisons Mythical Powers for helping people back to work? I don't see something that is worthly of a multi-million pound dividend for Emma Harrison.

    What has Emma Harrison invested £50 Million on ? Office space , some computers , some staff but what I dont get is what the unique selling point of her company. Somewhere from the early days in Sheffield to now she has lost control of what ever it was she had in these early days.

    A4e staff are driven by box ticking and targets so much as they are losing whatever sense of A4e mission they had. The Staff are overloaded with cases that what was a monthly session with an advisor is stretching to every two months.

    Why are A4e or Emma NOT supplying the correct figures if they disagree with the ones C4 have ?

    I wonder if Emma would object to me setting up a company to do what A4e does. I can be happy and helpful at times. Is there 'something' in A4e I could copy and get into trouble for copying ?

  12. Ive been with them since late december/ early january, and I like Roland have received no help or advice with regards to training, in fact I was told that I would only get £150 worth of training aid if I got a job, which would then mean I wouldn't need their 'offer' anyway.
    When I asked about advice with how i could refresh my skills I was brushed off and now my advisor just seems to be interested to get me in retail and nothing else.

    I'd bet that most people who find jobs while with their providers do it entirely by themselves and the provider claims the money based on the person finding work while just happening to be connected to them.

    1. £150??

      When I made acomplaint to a4e a while back, I was told by a (now-ex) JCP employee, that prior to April 2011, £1500 in 'training vouchers' were available to everyone claiming JCP for +6months.

      I mentioned this in writing to a4e's 'Director of UK operations' (I won't mention her name) asking her where this had gone, and why I wasn't allowed to see any of it.

      I got the usual 'stock answer' of: "A4e is committed to transforming people's lives.....blah blah blah"

      They've more or less been given carte-blanche to thieve from the unemployed in my opinion.

  13. I'll tell you why these Private Providers can claim all this money from the DWP.

    Under the contract they have with the DWP, once you get a job - even if you have found it yourself, the Private Provider can say they have contributed to you getting that job for a few reasons:

    1: They can claim they have seen and advised you on a regular basis.

    2: They can claim they have covered you travel costs when you have had an appointment with them so they can can advise you on looking for a job.

    3: They can claim they have helped you by letting you use their computers for jobsearch sessions.

    4: They can claim they have offered you sessions on interview techniques, C.V writing and applications.

    And probably a whole range of other things they can claim they have helped you with, that is none existant, this then automatically triggers payments from the DWP to the Private Provider, with no actual physical checks to see if their claims are true.


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