Sunday, 28 September 2014

Where are they now?

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.

18 comments:

  1. Ha! You may well have to change your blog title to 'Watching what is left of A4e' now Historian!

    Seriously if A4e are in crisis, I cannot summon any pity for them as a company. The advisors they employ will be the ones to suffer should things get worse for the wretched outfit.

    Their clients will not see any difference if / when handed over to another provider. Here in Leeds A4e lost contracts some while ago to Interserve I believe. I know someone who was an A4e client and attended Interserve for the remainder of their WP. I doubt she saw any difference or improvement in the delivery.

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    1. I thought Interserve were partners with A4e. Plus I read that the court case soon in Reading is going to be followed by a demo at the offices?

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  2. Sick of the Work Programme28 September 2014 at 13:20

    Although I can't be sure of what is going on behind the scenes at A4e, I have certainly noticed staff members who have left recently not always being replaced. I would be delighted if I no longer had to attend their pointless jobsearch sessions, but very disappointed if I were transferred to another 'provider' to see out the remainder of my Work Programme sentence.

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  3. It's just a case of not upsetting anyone with an election due, not heard anything about sanctions for ages.

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    1. That's only because the media have got bored with the subject. The rate of sanctions is not going down.

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  4. A4e seems to be fading away.. however they still have a semi large presence in australia still

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  5. In the meantime - Just now from The Conservative Party Conference - "George Osborne proposes two year benefits freeze" http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29402844

    Does this mean you can only claim benefit for two years or you can only claim benefit after two years unemployment?

    Whatever - the plan stinks.

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    1. I see IDS is back to the Prepaid benefits card..that alec shelbrook said.. add to that universal credit (dont laugh).. i weep for the future

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    2. It means the rates of most benefits paid to working-age people will be frozen for two years. This is on top of the 1% uprating cap inflicted on JSA and other benefits which is currently in force.

      And you're right - the plan stinks.

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  6. Emma Harrison seems to have been eclipsed at this year’s Tory Party Bunfight by White Dee from the Channel 4 “Benefits Street” series. Apparently, Benefits Street is only a couple of miles from the Bunfight venue in Birmingham.

    IDS seems to have been demoted by George Osborne,.so Osborne is lapping up all the credit from the Party Faithful for yet another proposed Tory attack on the recipients of nearly all working-age Benefits. I imagine that IDS was left merely to smirk somewhere.

    A4E seem to be “History” as far as the Tories are concerned. Labour’s history, as usual. In A4E’s shoes, I wouldn’t pay for a stand at a trade show in circumstances like these.

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  7. Relieved that at least my two scenarios are not what Osborne meant! However from fairly recent memory I always looked forward to the paltry much needed increase in JSA in April so a sad reflection onThe Government who begrudges it.

    No wonder such a large part of Scotland rejected Westminster. It was a vote against Cameron and Co .....

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    1. To be honest when I first read the statement I thought the same as you - that they were scrapping benefits after two years - so, it could have been worse.

      It is worth pointing out that the Liberal Democrats - who, remember, are part of the coalition government - have said they will challenge the freeze.

      The freeze is a pretty cynical and negative economic measure as it hits the poorest and doesn't help those in work.

      A more positive policy would have been to boost the NMW.

      The Tories seem to be banking on the electorate voting for them on the basis of fear and being unemployed. I think most people will reflect on their own lives and standard of living when they vote.

      The Tories have admitted that 10m people will be affected by the freeze, including the those in work but on low wages.

      This being so, I think the benefit freeze is a big vote loser.

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    2. No more comments on events yesterday and today, please. I will be posting about them shortly and you can all vent your feelings then.

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  8. If you wish to see some of what Emma has been up to check out "the FSI" and read emma,s blog

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    1. Mm, sparse postings and rather vacuous.

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    2. Indeed,just thought I may mention in in case you were unaware of emma,s involvement.

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    3. Thanks, but we've reported on the FSI in the past.

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    4. Wish Emma was still the head of A4e at least the company had values for its staff then not like now, disgruntled worker

      Delete

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