It may be a holiday weekend, but for many A4e staff it's a gloomy one. Some left work on Friday in the knowledge that the bonuses they expected to be paid this month have been cancelled. Managers have been receiving up to 20% of their pay as financial performance bonuses for the previous year. Last year's would have included 6 months of dual WP / FND work, and since FND was described by one employee as a "cash cow", the cancellation of the bonuses represents a significant loss. They've also been told that anyone earning £26k pa or more will not be getting a pay increase. Those earning less than £26k will get a 1% rise. This comes on top of the news that Emma Harrison took £8.6 million out of the company last year.
Many staff report that they are unhappy for other reasons. They were supposed to be dealing with caseloads of no more than 80, but some have upwards of 200 clients, so the amount of "tailored support" they can give is limited. Tensions are high in some offices. The system of referring people for "sanctions" (taking away their income) results in mistakes, and staff are having to confront some very angry clients.
Staff turnover has always been high in A4e, and some say that it is only limited now by the lack of opportunity to move elsewhere. But morale is reported to be at an all-time low.
(Don't bother posting comments attacking staff - they won't be published.)
This comes at a time when, as the Telegraph reports, the DWP has told Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, that it won't be publishing details of the 115 cases of potential fraud which don't involve A4e. The "public interest" argument isn't strong enough, they say.