Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Evidence in private - a "damning dossier"

The Public Accounts Committee heard evidence of fraud at A4e today - but in private.  According to the Daily Mail, this followed a row between Labour and Conservative members of the committee.  Three whistle-blowers handed over a "damning dossier".  The Mail doesn't say whether the whistle-blowers were A4e staff.  Apparently the secrecy was so that the evidence didn't interfere with a possible police investigation.  Robert Devereux was back giving evidence; he's the permanent secretary at the DWP.  He conceded that the evidence sounded damning, but much of it was to do with old programmes and couldn't happen now.  That's all right then.  We must wait for a fuller account of events (come on, Guardian) to find out the rest of what went on.

The Mail, naturally, has picked up the story about an A4e client in Bootle getting a job in a lap-dancing club.  It's the perfect excuse for the Mail to publish a large picture of what looks to me more like pole-dancing (but what do I know?).  And I begin to feel a little bit sorry for A4e.  The Exaro account, picked up by the mainstream media, assumes that the client was sent to the club by A4e for a job.  But it's more likely, surely, that a client found a job there off his or her own bat.  And in that case, why shouldn't A4e claim the job outcome?

Are we going to see more prosecutions?  Or was the point of the secret hearings that the government would prefer to just bury this?


  1. The Big Question should be "Who is stalling the suspension of all A4E contracts and why is there not a full and independent investigation" Have too many ministers and government officials got a finger in this pie?"

  2. The Teflon Don22 May 2012 at 15:01

    Britain doesn't do prosecuting corporate criminals. Remember the Hatfield train crash, Britain's worst rail disaster. Did anyone go to prison.

    Chances are it will be put down to rogue employees, with the A4e spin about how they are the victims of fraud.

    But one thing we can all be certain of millions of more people have now heard of infamous A4e thanks to all the bad publicity they have had, and continue to get. And I wouldn't be surprised if governments in other countries where A4e have contracts started carrying out an audit in light of events here.

    1. Robert Deveraux Did say the 3 known frauds in a4e were all done by an individual Again.. How many individuals are at it. Anonymous22 May 2012 15:14, No. The NAO has said they didnt ask for some information given to them. And it isnt an Entire country wide audit. It was just the Audit in Epsom, in One Scheme and they took the smallest one but they still hold 11 more in that area.

      No evidence of fraud.. 8 arrests, the Public accounts private meeting, its being passed to the police.

      The Teflon Don Australia is investigating it there, for something they call rorting..

  3. There has been a 'full and independent investigation'. There have been several. And they have found no evidence of fraud.

    1. As I understand it, the "full & indepedent investigations" have been nothing of the sort.

      Allegedly, in 2009 A4E's internal auditors discovered the probability of frauds. They notified the DWP. The DWP have since admitted that they knew about the results of the internal audit but they did not ask to see the audit report.

      Then in 2012 the DWP decided to take a bit of a look at A4E's activities. As a result, they scrapped one of A4E's contracts but declared the rest "clean."

      The DWP now has the pleasure of having their own auditing standards and methods being investigated by the National Audit Office.

      The current boss of the NAO is Amyas Morse. He is a Chartered Accountant who used to be one of the senior Partners of Price Waterhouse Cooper. He definitely DOES know how to do these types of QA audits properly. Read what AccountancyAge about Mr Morse when he was appointed to the NAO:


      Meanwhile, A4E have appointed a firm of solicitors to investigate A4E, its management systems and its working practices from top to bottom according to A4E's website and the various media reports.

      It is most unlikely that the solicitors will find their client's business to be as squeaky-clean as their own, given that the Police have so far arrested 8 people in connection with an alleged fraud at A4E's Slough Office and the Public Accounts Committee are about to give the Police another dossier of evidence provided by three whistleblowers which everyone, including the boss of the DWP, describes as being "damning evidence."

      A4E are in the place popularly known as "the soup" and so are the DWP by the sound of it. How can the DWP say, last week, that A4E is clean & tidy but then the DWP change their story today and say that some of the evidence about A4E is "damning?" What was the matter with the DWP's own audits that they failed to find this this allegedly "damning evidence" by themselves?

    2. There has been an investigation and there was fraud although only a small amount,but if you are a benefits cheat regardless of the amount you are sanctioned.This is only the small drip prepare for the flood.

  4. And why do you think that might be Anon (22 May 2012 15:14)????

    As I have said before, let's leave allegations of fraud to one side for a minute or three. You cannot seriously suggest that there is no evidence of poor standards at many A4e branches?

    Why do you think many current and former A4e clients have nothing good to say about them? Why are an increasing number of A4e staff prepared to speak out?

  5. I don't get it. One day no fraud the next there is. How hard is it for someone to do a job right?

  6. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tory-mps-gagged-welfaretowork-whistleblowers-7778896.html

    Mr Devereux conceded that "they did sound damning" and promised that they would be investigated. But he insisted that they referred to past contracts and that new measures had been put in place by the department to ensure that such fraud could not happen in the future.

    He also confirmed that 11 other separate cases of fraud at A4E were now being investigated by the department – despite claims by the company that there was no evidence of wrongdoing in those cases.

    It is also understood that the evidence provided by the whistleblowers will now be provided to the police.


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