There was a time when A4e would have a stand at all the main party conferences, touting their services. I doubt very much whether that's the case this year. How times have changed for this company! We don't know what their financial situation is, and won't for at least 3 months, but it was pretty dire a year ago.
Gone are the days when owner Emma Harrison could pocket £8.6m in one year. For a few brief years she enjoyed the spotlight, the celebrity status, rising to the dizzy heights of adviser to the government. And then it all came crashing down. An attempt to rehabilitate herself with a Channel 4 News interview in 2012 just resulted in car-crash TV. So where is Emma now? There have been no sightings reported.
Mark Lovell, as we reported in July, left A4e this year and went to something called The Social Assistance Partnership. He had been with A4e since the beginning, and his departure marked the end of the original company.
Our favourite A4e director, Jonty Olliff-Cooper, left of his own accord, or so it was said. Nothing to do with that offensive tweet, of course. He is now working for something called "The Young Foundation [which] is a leading independent centre for disruptive social innovation. We create new movements, institutions and companies that tackle the structural causes of inequality." Yes, well. Effectively Jonty has also dropped off the radar.
After it all went horribly wrong, A4e engaged the services of a PR company close to Chancellor George Osborne to try to change their image. The advice seems to have been, "Become invisible". There are very few planted pieces in the local press these days, and the bosses avoid publicity like the plague. The Company has shrunk its business and faces increased competition for the contracts on offer in the UK. They pulled out of prison education contracts because they couldn't make them pay (and that doesn't appear to have been entirely A4e's fault) and are not in the running for the probation service contracts.
For a blogger following the company it's all a bit frustrating.