There's plenty of coverage of the removal of one of A4e's contracts today, but most of it just repeats the press release. We saw at Prime Minister's Questions how the government wants to spin the NAO report; Cameron focussed on how quickly the Work Programme had been got up and running. It's left to the Guardian and the Yorkshire Post to highlight a significant omission.
You remember that leaked internal A4e report which showed how much probable and potential fraud was going on? It was important enough for the BBC to break its vow of silence on the A4e issue. But it wasn't, apparently, important enough for the DWP to want to look at it. They didn't ask for it. Margaret Hodge isn't happy about that, naturally, and wants a more complete investigation. It raises the question of what kind of investigation the DWP thought it was conducting. The phrases "whitewash" and "damage limitation" spring to mind.
Another major point in the National Audit Office report is reported in the Guardian. "... allegations against A4e represented just under 10% of cases where fraud was substantiated. Over 40 cases occurred in other back-to-work companies, representing total losses since 2006 of a quarter of a million pounds. Out of a total of 126 reported cases of potential fraud the DWP concluded that there was no case to answer in 75 cases. Of the remaining cases, the NAO report said, '24 were of false representation [fraud], 22 of non-compliance' and five were still under investigation. The total losses to fraud since 2006 averaged £129,000 a year, which it described as a 'small' loss in comparison to a total expenditure of £829m on employment schemes in 2011-2012 alone."
An unexpected advert on Twitter from Paul Lewis, who is one of the BBC's financial experts.