Whoever tweets on A4e's behalf was merrily going on about apprenticeships today, and that was the news on their website. It's not surprising that there's nothing about the impending sale. But I'm now wondering whether potential buyers might hold off until after the election. The result could be a big influence on how much the parts of the business are worth.
Take welfare-to-work. Labour has said that it would not renew the current Work Programme contracts, but would instead give the organisation to local bodies such as councils and LEPs. This would still mean the involvement of private companies, but not on the same scale. A Conservative government would just produce a new variation of the WP. Would Labour carry on with workfare? It was a Labour government which started it, after all. They are pledged to stop it for young people, replacing it with guaranteed (although temporary) paid jobs, but have said nothing about older people.
As for prison education, that depends on getting a government which stops cutting the numbers of prison staff, leaving prisoners unable to attend classes. And then there's the Money Advice service, another unknown prospect.
The Tories are saying that 30,000 staff are to go from the DWP. Given how utterly shambolic that department is now, that is frightening. But could this mean the outsourcing of Jobcentre Plus? ("We've created [make up a number] private sector jobs .....") They've been hankering after doing that for some time, and any company in the sector would be scrambling for contracts. That would make A4e's assets attractive.
Labour intends to subject outsourcing companies to the same transparency rules as public sector bodies, but it wouldn't stop outsourcing. However, a Tory government would be a much more attractive prospect for potential buyers of A4e.