Sunday, 2 December 2012

£1.375m for Emma

It's a story in today's Observer, but it's an irritating one.
The figures come from her husband, who said she got a total dividend of £1.25m in the year from April 2011, plus £250,000 from January this year.  Okay, she didn't step down as Chair of A4e until March, so this is hardly a surprise.  Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, is outraged, justifiably.  But the paper seems to forget that a big slice of A4's income doesn't come from welfare-to-work.  There are plenty of other lucrative contracts.
And there's a worrying inaccuracy in the story.  "She became a high-profile figure through reality TV programmes such as The Fairy Jobmother."  Er ... no.  She wasn't in that.  It was Hayley Taylor, who got her big break as an A4e employee in Benefit Busters.
I've no objection, of course, to the Observer / Guardian keeping this in the public eye.  But let's get it right.


  1. Instead of giving it 'All to Emma', the money could have been put to much better use paying for people who are out of work to gain qualifications or to do training courses which would actually help them to get into employment.

  2. Reward for failure! This bit caught my eye:

    "A source close to Harrison said her dividend was justified because the success of the work programme cannot be measured in a single year: "Data published a year into a brand new programme that will run for years and deals with the most difficult-to-reach members of society is no benchmark for comments about failure or success."

    So that's okay then! Funny how if someone is out of work they are termed 'long term unemployed' and demed a problem. Yet the WP ruuning for a year+ is said not to have been running long enough and needs YET more time.

    In fact, I have a copy of Micro Mart, an computing / IT magazine. On the front cover is the main story:

    WINDOWS 8, One month on and in deep trouble?

    Windows 8, the latest Operating System from Microsoft is about 5 weeks old. Yet there are many calling it a failure already.

    The WP in contrast is more than a YEAR old. Yet we are not able to deem this a sufficient time period. The truth is, as long as the WP is failing, NO length of time will be sufficient.

    Had the WP figures been a lot more positive, a year would show the government was always on the right track all along of course!

  3. Funny,I was stopped Friday,by all accounts it was like a Police Xmas party,pulling over 5 cars at a time "Road Safety Check"Insurance? Ok Car Tax? Ok HMRC Diesel? Ok Background check Ok.....License..American.NO.Canadian..NO Hondurian..NO.. Bulgarian?..But you are British,fair enough but I travel a lot,Bulgaria is unacceptable..Why They are not part of the EU..Yes they are..The officer pulled out a map(Circa 1987)No it is not..Result? Car seized,cost £150...Why was I on the road,going to the WP they have me working for a Builder(A friend of a supervisor running the WP)at first I was on MWA but now I am on WRA,no schedule just the basic instruction to show up at 0730 and do "What ever I am told" This is not according to DWP guidelines,but I have been instructed not to make waves as I will be subject to sanctions "If I displease the Employer"BS total BS Angry to say the least.

  4. I read about Emma Harrison's bumper dividend and her earlier dividends on Channel 4 News earlier this year:

    Today, I found a clip on YouTube, which might or might not have been made by Channel 4 News:

    It seems pretty clear that the £8.6 million dividend wss paid before 06 April 2010.

    Mr Harrison now says that a further £1.25 million was paid to his wife between April 2011 and whenever A4E Ltd's own financial year comes to an end. (This is often not the same date as the end of the Government's Financial Year, which is used in order to work out taxation.)

    Thereafter, it seems, Mrs Harrison received a further dividend of £250,000 in January 2012. She resigned as a Director and Chairman of A4E Ltd on 24 February 2012, according to A4E Ltd's own website and also according to the media. (The formal resignations have been filed at Companies House but they were not filed until March 2012 and I have not seen copies of the actual documents about that bit.)

    In October 2012, Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Channel 4 News asked Emma Harrison about the £250,000 dividend payment that he said she had received?

    Mrs Harrison tried to deflect KGM about that but he turned out not to to be easy to deflect! She then tried to obfuscate but it turned out that KGM is not keen on obfuscation either!

    It seems to me that the Observer have managed to get some reliable figures from Mr Harrison (Hubby.) He seems to me to have confirmed KGM's question and to have answered it in more detail than KGM requested of his wife.

    Mr Harrison (Hubby) stacks up. He has no reason to be an unreliable witness. The actual figures are going to be revealed via Companies House, once they publish the statutory information that A4E Ltd will file later in December 2012. It seems to me that Mr Harrison (Hubby)has not said anything that the media would not be able to discover by themselves early in 2013.

    Personally, I agree with Mr Harrison (Hubby.) There is no point in continuing to try to deflect and obfuscate about information that will be in the public domain soon enough anyway, NOT via the media being creepy but via Companies House.

    Mrs Harrison, his wife, seems to me to have left it rather late to have worked out that the brown stuff was about to hit the rotating object both for herself and her company A4E Ltd.

    To judge from her recent interview with KGM, my impression is that Emma Harrison remains in denial about the realities of the situation. Unfortunately for her, thousands of A4E's customers are NOT in denial about the realities and neither are the national media.

    In Emma Harrison's shoes, I would be seen to "retire," quickly and with as much grace as possible. Emma Harrison has turned herself into a has-been.

    1. I think there is some confusion over payment of dividends
      Dividends are paid to shareholders not Directors-so Emma will continue to receive dividends on profits as long as she is a shareholder-whether she has resigned or not (& what date she did it)is immaterial

    2. You're right, of course, and no one suggested otherwise. But she is no longer paid as Chair of the company.

    3. Hi Mike

      I disagree with you. The company in question is called A4E Ltd. If you know how to do a company search then you can download Form AR01, which is the last Annual Return filed by A4E Ltd in December 2011.

      AR01 reveals that there are several classes of shares within A4E Ltd. However, the shares with the guts are the voting shares. Emma Harrison personally owns about 87% of those.

      So yes. Technically you are correct. Dividends go with the shares, not with the shareholder's office within the company.

      However, A4E Ltd is unusually complicated because of the fact that Emma Harrison owns most of the important shares. She can outvote all the other shareholders put together.

      Sure, Emma Harrison could sell some or all of her shares - but to whom and what are they worth? A4E Ltd is a private company, unlike - say - G4S.

      Technically, if Emma Harrison desires to dilute her own shareholding in A4E Ltd, there are various possibilities - eg a Private Placing. She can easily afford to turn A4E Ltd into a PLC. However, if she does not want to do it then it cannot be done.

      This leaves a situation that is morally repugnant, imho. Emma Harrison continues to receive obscenely high dividends, as she is entitled to do because of her shareholding. However, ALL of A4E Ltd's "profits" are actually coming out of money that used to belong to the taxpayer. Meanwhile, it is questionable whether A4E Ltd is really providing the taxpayer with "value for money." A4E Ltd did not hit the DWP's target of 5.5% during the first year of the Work Programme scheme, for example. (I do not know about A4E Ltd's performance with any of their other contracts because I am only interested in A4E Ltd and the Work Programme scheme.)

      I think the whole situation is more complicated than you have said. Therefore Emma Harrison is getting tons of personal opprobrium (not to mention flak from the media) that she probably feels is "unfair." That said, how does one define "fair" in the strange situation that Emma Harrison finds herself in?

    4. Nope- it isn't complicated at all- a shareholder is entitled to dividends on their shares as long as the company's level of profits allow!-the board can decide which class of shares to pay on and at what level they pay out

      A4E are certainly still generating profit -from attachment fees on WP (and other contracts)

      Rightly or wrongly, fair or not- taxpayers money or not, under-performing or not-that is the situation

      I was only trying to clarify that in the article and in the write up above there seemed to be a link made between Emma's employment with A4e and payment of dividends-when in actuality there is none!

    5. Mike, you are clarifying nothing. We are all well aware of the situation.

    6. hmmm that's fine then-however that's not the impression you give in your write-up of the Observer article

      "The figures come from her husband, who said she got a total dividend of £1.25m in the year from April 2011, plus £250,000 from January this year. Okay, she didn't step down as Chair of A4e until March, so this is hardly a surprise"

      That is directly linking her employment with A4e with her dividends-which is incorrect!

    7. I can think of a few people I know who are like you, Mike. They drive me nuts. If you had followed the original information early this year you would know that she got a pay-off when she stepped down as Chair. That's the £250k. There is also the fact that she no longer has any say in what dividends are paid. The rest is clear to all of us - including you :)

  5. In response to 'There are plenty of other lucrative contracts.' A4e may catch a cold with the new OLASS 4 prison education contracts now covering London and Outer London as well as existing East Anglian prisons. The new contracts started on 1 November and are basically payment by results, under guided learning hours. Comments/threats from A4e management to staff have already started, "we're not going to make any money out of this." Watch this space.

  6. look no matter what we say the government is still going to pay them, while people suffer to get a job so they can provide for them selfs or their family's. I dont see why this government is not helping our generation to do sum thing with our life? dont we deserve to have a future?

    I guess people like that will never understand us, we as people buy artists songs, food and other stuff and make company's rich but do they ever help us no, i wish i had the power and i would stop these MPS payments and their allowances and give them a normal persons wage, tax the rich more and stop paying people like this Emma T^^^ any money.

  7. I don't mind private firms doing this kind of work. If they can make a few quid whilst providing a service, fine.

    But these stupid firms have got to be GOOD to justify any kind of profit beyond making a living.

    Emma deserves all the hassle she gets.

  8. More proof that Universal Jobmatch is not mandatory and advisers who say it is are putting themselves in a position of 'OFFICIAL MISDIRECTION' - from the PCS Union - go to the weblink below and print the page off - take with you when you sign on next.

  9. To Polly:
    First, I assume you have a copy of the letter.
    Second, I would advise you to lodge a formal complaint, going through the office's complaints procedure, and at the same time contact the office of the Information Commissioner (you can do it online.)


  11. my brother has just become employed and he has not been with A4e, however A4e have been phoning him asking about the job he got and the details. he would not give them the details because he knew that they are just trying to claim that they got him the job so he refused to give them any info. i am on the work programme and yesterday i accidently told my advisor where my brother worked and A4e have stopped hassling him. They are surely gonna claim whatever it is for claiming they got my brother a job but they didn't. don't know what to do now???

    1. Forgive me for being dubious about this. If "he has not been with A4e", was he on the Work Programme at all? If not, nobody can claim anything for him.
      If you want to send me a not for publication comment with your email address, we can try to establish what's happening.

    2. how do i do not for publication comment?

    3. (Sighs). You send a comment which you start with "not for publication".


Keep it clean, please. No abusive comments will be approved, so don't indulge in insults. If you wish to contact me, post a comment beginning with "not for publication".