Tuesday, 15 May 2012

One contract lost - everything else fine

As some of you have been quick to point out, it's been announced that A4e has had one contract removed, the Mandatory Work Activity contract in the South East.  That's it.  Everything else is fine.  (See the Press Association announcement).  No evidence of fraud, says Grayling, but "significant weaknesses in A4e's internal controls on the Mandatory Work Activity contract in the South East".  But "A4e is keeping other contracts it has with the DWP, including those under the Work Programme, which tackles long-term unemployment."
The BBC report adds the reactions of A4e.  "The company welcomed the 'positive findings' of the Department for Work and Pensions' audit, and another by the Skills Funding Agency, saying: 'Both confirmed they identified no evidence of fraud, systemic, attempted or otherwise, in relation to any audit completed of the contracts they hold with A4e.'"  
You bet they're pleased.  One MWA contract is a small price to pay to be let off the hook for everything else.


  1. If there is no evidence of fraud.. then why are the police arresting people?.. How can they allow them to continue when the same systems are running nationally.. over every programme they run. this is a It wasnt us it was this individual (group).

    This is NOT over yet..

    1. Well, A4e put a particular type of spin on the issue. Looking at their site with regards to an arrest on 20 April 2012, they claim to "welcome" investigations of alleged fraud AGAINST A4e!

      "Nowt to do with US guv'".

      However, this alleged fraud that took place by A4e employees, on A4e's premises, using A4e's equipment, on A4e's time, under the very noses of A4e management!

  2. Reminds me of a story,a lady was found by her husband in their apartment livingroom,after he noticed she was not in bed,she had been stabbed 137 times,all doors were locked,his fingerprints were on the knife,after confessing,he recanted.In the end the Police gave a verdict of suicide.

  3. It undermines serious commentary if we dismiss any reports that do not agree with our prejudiced views. No fraud at A4e.

    1. I think it is fairly apparent there has been some fraud in the past - as evidenced by the investigation at Slough - but this audit has come back clean. This suggests that those hoping to discover a company full of corrupt frontline workers are to be disappointed. You'd have to hope that the DWP run their own audits fairly well, especially when under such a spotlight.

    2. There is fraud at A4e. Or did the 8 arrests go completely over your head? You should not deny facts just because they disagree with your own biased views.

  4. Anonymous15 May 2012 08:51, Are you saying that a4e are innocent of any wrong doing.. If so answer me WHY people 8 now have been arrested by the police for fraud.

    Have you experienced a4e in all its glory.. Why use it was this MWA contract and no other even though they use the same offices, same staff, same rules, same paperwork to run the many schemes. If one is cancelled for bad paperwork etc then how can they justify keeping the others that use the same paperwork.

    I think we all knew that they would find them "innocent", they have said this is an isolated incident about every single action of fraud maladministration that a4e has been implicated in.. So is this another case of this is an isolated incident again..

  5. and the SFA has given them a clean bill of health so they will probably now be confirmed for the prison edcuation contracts. At least the SFA is consistent in their approach: they awarded them preferred bidder at the time th news broke on the fraud scandal and give them the al clear the day they lose one contract and another (ex) employee from the same office is arrested

  6. I think that one must be fair and balanced - audits have found no fraud. That will never satisfy those with vested interests. May your prejudice keep you warm tonight.

  7. Erm, Anonymouse, I have to pull you up there I'm afraid. Normally your comments are very worthwhile but this one is a bit off base.

    The DWP audit found paperwork on the MWA contact was not up to scratch and have taken the contract away from A4e as a result. No Fraud has been found on this contract. They've taken it, presumably, because they needed to be seen to punish A4e for the allegations relating to previous contracts.Fair enough, if they aren't completing the paperwork properly then they need to be punished for it. Not doing something accurately and committing fraud are very different things. A4e have been found to be doing one of these things and not the other.

    You say 'Same Rules, Same Paperwork' - this is incorrect. I happen to know this for a fact. MWA rules/paperwork and systems are totally different from the ones used on different contracts. Your post states an assumption as fact.

    The reality is, whether we like it or not, that a major audit has come back from the DWP into A4e practices and found no evidence of systemic fraud. The other, independent audit, is ongoing I believe but presumably A4e feel confident about this coming back otherwise they would not have released such a bombastic press statement today. So, a DWP audit, an internal A4e audit and (in all likelihood) and independent one look set to exonerate the company from the charges of systemic fraud. Are you suggesting that all of this is a whitewash? On what factual basis would you make this statement?

    The arrests, which less we forget relate to a now defunct contract, centre on one office. One office that A4e themselves discovered was acting fraudulently and reported to the DWP. Eight arrests show that this problem was serious at the Slough office but that does not mean anything in relation to other offices which are also audited.I once had a dreadful meal in a pizza Express in Slough, it doesn't mean all their restaurants in the country are awful. Daft example but I trust you can see where I'm coming from?

    Eight arrests, lets see how many are convicted. If they are all guilty, lets hope that they all are. If not, lets hope the justice system does its job.

    The MWA contract loss will hurt A4e and should be seen as a victory to those who hold them to account. To my mind it shows them for what I think they are - often incompetent and poorly resourced/trained. But not necessarily crooks.

    1. I will take your comments in reverse order How can a loss of a Single £1 million contract affect them when they are getting tens of millions more for doing the same work. What about the newsnight report showing the internal document showing potential fraud risks, in July 2009 A4e’s own audit and risk department examined the work of its top 20 recruiters, looking at 20% of their work, which equated to examining the files of 224 clients.The auditors concluded that 4% of the claims they examined were “potentially fraudulent” or included “irregular activity” and another 12% were classified as containing “reputational” or other risks.

      They said that they could only be sure that A4e was entitled to the money the company claimed in 70% of the cases.. So thats ok.. and no fraudster ever carries on with the crime.

      No government department has ever covered up the truth. Look at the reputations of Grayling and IDS, Look at the reputation of all these people with a vested interest in showing they are tough on the unemployed. I expected a whitewash, as they cannot let the work programme fail. Too many vested interests. They have used this Minor contract as a scapegoat. so people will say look they are doing something..

      All a4e clients have to sign the same documents, all clients at a4e has to bring the same proofs, a4e uses a standard set of forms for everyone. To think that they would create a completely different set of forms for one set of clients, just for the MWA.

    2. "All a4e clients have to sign the same documents, all clients at a4e has to bring the same proofs, a4e uses a standard set of forms for everyone. To think that they would create a completely different set of forms for one set of clients, just for the MWA"

      Hang on - Didn't the chap you are replying to state that that was not the case?

      I work on MWA and can assure you that the only paperwork used on it for validation and payments is DWP paperwork.

      So yes, they do use a totally different set of forms on this contract.Get your facts right before you take that tone with someone.

  8. Has the company's staff expenses claims been investigated yet? This would reveal a good headline!

  9. Oh some more information, A4e holds 12 contracts in the geographical area, this one that has been cancelled is the Smallest one Costing £1 Million. So a4e Still has 11 contracts in the area.. Makes me really think they have used this scheme as a sacrificial goat, throwing this one thing to the lions and show we are all right now..


  10. The Government Audit has come back clean, from experience I know of other providers who would not pass audit having worked in the industry for several years. It's time to end this witch hunt and concentrate on the job inland mainly reducing the shocking unemployment figures.

    1. Don't be so gullible, and don't think this outcome excuses this cowboy outfit, or condones any of it's practices.
      A4e are in the news not just for fraud allegations, the system remains the same.
      They deserve to lose all contracts simply because they haven't come even close to meeting their targets.
      It's a system that has clearly failed and will continue to do so.
      The only success the government has had, is the benefit payments is has saved as a result of the forced sanctions, and bullying people into low income dead end jobs.
      NOTHING has changed.
      If anything, this whole "fraud" allegation has exposed A4e for what it is, a complete waste of time and money.

    2. David Anthony Penson8 June 2012 at 06:32

      Thank you Ram, i could not have put it better myself, my friend who was on one of their so called courses expressed similar sentiments to me years ago, appalling that a company run by a woman who can not even spell the word training can profit from the poorest in our society.

  11. If they are keeping the "long term unemployed" contracts then will it really hurt them that much?

    I'd wager that the majority of the unemployed will end up 'long term unemployed' given that most of these back to work agencies have a low success rate of getting people into jobs and the worsening state of the economy.

    What difference does it make how long someone has been out of work when it comes to A4e's shady business pactice? isn't this just a token gesture by the DWP to get the public off A4e's back now that they've been 'punished'?

  12. How many "individual cases" do there have to be before someone spots a link? You don't have to be Closeau or Sherlock Holmes.
    Here's a clue...
    The programmes are run by the same company, with the same management, with much the same staff with exactly the same culture, for the same profit motive, using the same techniques..... and on... and on.
    What proce that one contract is just a bad apple and all the others are sqsueaky clean?


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