Thanks to ITV News (the only ones so far who've reported it) we know that, in addition to the nine former A4e staff who were arrested on fraud charges, another four are to be charged. The CPS says:
"It is alleged that on or before 18 March 2011 A4e employees Ines Cano-Uribe (Contract Manager), Sarah Hawkins (Quality Co-Ordinator), Serge Wyett (Operations Manager), Matthew Hannigan Train (Team Leader) and Hayley Wilson (Recruiter) conspired to forge documentation in relation to services provided by A4e, with the intention of convincing Department for Work and Pensions auditors that the documentation and claim for payment were genuine. One of the women, Ines Cano-Uribe, already faces two existing charges relating to the alleged fraudulent activity at A4e."
It seems to confirm that the charges relate to forging job outcome claims. These five will appear at Slough Magistrates' Court on 6 January.
Regardless of what people might think of the morality of this, the question should be why did staff at A4e think it was necessary to do this in the first place? Surely if the Work Programme is as successful as the government likes to claim, staff at A4e would not even have considered doing this.ReplyDelete
It's important to note that, according to previous reports, this was NOT under the Work Programme, but rather New Deal. But we'll see.Delete
Looking over the CPS press release, these charges relate to a programme run by Wycombe District Council in conjunction with the Job Centre Plus. See: http://www.wycombe.gov.uk/news/press-releases/27mar09-skill-centre-deliver-inspire-to-aspire-job-skill-training-in-wycombe.aspxDelete
Not the Work Programme, nor the earlier [Flexible] New Deal contract.
It would be interesting to see the contract, tender documents, and the payment model used - I suspect there was a greater scope for fraud within this contract compared to those issued by the DWP.
Thanks for that info, Anonymous. What I find very interesting about this scheme is that it was entirely voluntary, therefore presumably the people attending were all keen to get back into work. If A4e staff thought they were unable to help people who were there out of choice to get jobs, leading staff to commit fraud so they could say they had been successful, surely it raises serious questions about the viability of the Work Programme, which people are of course mandated to attend.Delete
All the media are reporting the story now.ReplyDelete
just in time for a4e to start bidding for probationary contractsReplyDelete
A dozen people – 12 of them – all worked in/for the same A4E office and between them they have now been charged with 60 offences of dishonesty according to the BBC and Andrew Dutton of A4E yesterday.ReplyDelete
How on earth did the DWP fail to spot this before A4E told the DWP about it in May 2011? Have any senior heads rolled at the DWP as a result? If not then why not?
Chris Grayling MP now owes Eddie Hutchinson the most grovelling apology possible for sneering at him on Newsnight, imho.
IDS owes Margaret Hodge MP another grovelling apology, too, it seems to me.
Those two hideously defective specimens of the species Muttus Politicus (IDS & Grayling) might as well chew up the carpet, I reckon.
However, the people who have lost the most are the unemployed, as usual. Whilst I was forced to spend two years on the Work Programme with A4E, I spent a huge amount of time praying that no prospective employers would notice the link between A4E and myself. I knew that I would have to try to talk my way out of it if a beady interviewer should spot the link – but I’m not even a political weasel so copying the rat running the cheese shop does not come naturally to me.
How dare the politicians expose some of the most vulnerable but honest, decent and truthful people in society to their own shady shenanigans?
Steady on, Judi. The audit process worked in this case.Delete
The questions I ask myself are, would this happen if paynent by results was not the system in place, and has this been going on for a very long time but has only come to light because the systems were introduced to pick this up.Delete
I know at least one of those people. They used to work at my local A4e office a couple of years ago. I'm not going to say which one, there's really no need/point. It's a shame as I thought the person was quite nice. Maybe I was wrong. :(ReplyDelete
It's amazing what the prospect of a little "financial gain" does to a person's ethics/morals. You know what they say, "you can't take it with you when you die". Doesn't stop people in power from trying. At least now they can take the stigma of being corrupt to the grave.
Humanity is so depressing sometimes.
“Things always appear clear and simple from behind glass. It is in the thick of tribulations that blurring details arise, complicating my life. You can't rightly judge me, nor can you assist, from a shielded viewpoint.”Delete
― Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway
Ignorance is daring, don't you think?
I'm now having to reject comments which stigmatise all A4e staff. Don't do it.ReplyDelete
My problem with the WP is not the staff but with the programme itself. I worked as a youth worker for a while and we struggled to make an impact because of a lack of resources and cash. I believe that the WP suffers from the same problem. It's staff have to find work for people who may have been out of work for several years and who employers do not want to take on - like me.ReplyDelete
I believe I need direct and practical help e.g. a paid work placement and a job guarantee to overcome these barriers. This would require the government to take a much more direct approach and would be costly (if wages are subsidised).
Given that George Osbourne has announced via the Autumn Statement that public sector spending is to fall to pre-welfare state levels that ain't going to happen. Indeed, it confirms what I have been saying on this blog for ages - the Tories are DELIBERATELY undermining the welfare state via austerity.