Wednesday, 21 January 2015

More on that A4e fraud case

I've been waiting to see whether Private Eye would cover the A4e fraud case.  It has.  But it's a short piece which adds little or nothing to our understanding of the case.  It does say: "The fraud was blatant; the prosecution described, for example, 'a completely false file showing the individual's contact and training sessions with A4e'.  After a new employee blew the whistle, audits uncovered the scale of the fraud, which had also involved people being offered 'shopping vouchers' to pretend they had got jobs through A4e."

We can expand on that.  One employee (we'll call her AB) was training another, transferred from another office, on the particular Inspire contract.  This employee told AB that fraud was widespread among her former colleagues.  AB reported this to management and this put in train the internal audit by A4e.  Which one of these two employees should be described as the whistle-blower is not really important.  The investigation subsequently uncovered the scale of the fraud.  The irony is that AB ended up as one of the convicted - for falsifying her own file.  She had been taken on by A4e after applying for a job with them through Inspire, and a file was then created to show, falsely, that she had been on a programme with A4e so that a job outcome payment could be claimed.  AB (not knowing any better, she later claimed) signed the paperwork which had been compiled by another of the convicted.  Having read some of the evidence presented in this case, I have to say that it would confuse anyone who isn't au fait with the way these paper-based contracts worked.

That there was a climate of fraudulent activity in this contract is clear.  That the incentive to do this was the financial rewards offered by the company is also clear.  And one does wonder why A4e didn't acknowledge that the investigation was triggered by a whistle blower.  If the A4e media relations person who gave me her phone number the other day and invited me to contact her (not something I would ever do) would like to comment openly here she will be welcome.  A4e has dropped the system of individual bonuses, but confirms that they offer team bonuses.  Quite how that would prevent this type of fraud isn't clear.

PS: There is a great deal to say about benefit sanctions at the moment, but I'll deal with that in a separate post.


  1. It boggles the mind,regardless of the fact that those found guilty of fraud and will pay the price(?) A4E is still awarded contracts,even though they have bailed out of at least one of them because their was no profit in it,yet if the DWP cancels a programme they are compensated for it,this reminds me of the contract between the Claimant and the JCP the Claimant can be Sanctioned for the slightest infraction of the Contract,yet the JCP/DWP fail to fulfill their part and their is no redress,I know in theory their is but it is a futile effort and takes Months,while a Sanction takes effect?

    1. Isn't that always the case though? The ones at the bottom will 'pay' for it (was it two custmer files in the end the three month trial was about?), whereas the ones at the top remained untouched?

  2. Another Anonymous has just left a NFP comment with a number of, "Did you know" questions. No, I didn't, and if the person would like to comment again with an email address I'd like to discuss what you're saying.

  3. I recently looked into the New Enterprise Allowance,after following the links it led me to a list of start up loan companies,I applied and received an appointment,I attended and was assigned a Mentor,we put together a business plan and applied for the loan. I then attended my JCP appointment and mentioned NEA and what I had done so far..tut,tut
    Before I can actually get NEA I must meet with a Provider...A4E! Why? They wanted to see my business plan,have me apply for a start up loan through their sources and for the 26 Weeks that you get NEA (£65 for 13/£33 for 13) they will keep in touch. My Spider senses were tingling! I bluntly asked if they would claim an outcome payment? the response was that old favourite "We cannot divulge that information as it is commercially sensitive" As I do not require or want their help(?) they had better not be paid,I finished the WP over a year ago,seems that if they are in line for a payout,they have done nothing to earn it.


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