Monday, 23 February 2015

Unpleasant story

There's an interesting story in Hull's local paper here which involves A4e.  I stress that no blame attaches to A4e.
It goes back to New Deal days, before 2008, when A4e had the contract in the city.  They would send people on fork lift truck courses (in those days you could get actual skills training).  One man who was sent on this was appalled to find that the boss of the firm was a man, Nicholas Holbrook, who had sexually abused him as a child, something he had never reported.  The man said he would not go on this training with Holbrook.  Says the paper: 'He claims he told the company of Holbrook’s abuse.  Mr Wilson said: “I said I’m not going. He abused me as a young kid.  They told me you can’t make accusations like that against a pillar of the community. You’ll get your benefits stopped.  I had a wife and three kids [so had to go].”'
Wilson came forward when he learned in 2013 that Holbrook had been jailed for 7 years for raping and sexually assaulting two men who had also been referred to Holbrook for training.  The report doesn't say how those two came to be referred, or by whom.  Wilson's evidence at a new trial put Holbrook away for a further 6 years.
As I said, no blame attaches to A4e.  It just seems a somewhat extreme example of what can happen when people are compelled, under threat of destitution, to put themselves in impossible situations.


  1. Whilst clearly A4e are not the major offenders I think some blame might be attributed to them. After all they owe a duty of care to their customers and to insist (on pain of sanctioning) that someone attend a place where an alleged abuse occurred seems to me to be a neglect of that duty. To arrange the training at an alternative provider would have been the logical and professional response.

  2. "It just seems a somewhat extreme example of what can happen when people are compelled, under threat of destitution, to put themselves in impossible situations."

    Exactly, and I don't believe that the pillocks in Parliament have considered any of this properly, if at all.

  3. Sick of the Work Programme24 February 2015 at 11:39

    So much for A4e's standard statement on safeguarding:

    "A4e is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of its staff and customers. We expect all our staff to be aware of their responsibilities to protect staff and customers from abuse or harm."

    How appalling that Mr Wilson found himself in that situation. Quite often abuse in childhood increases the likelihood of 'issues' in adulthood such as unemployment- of course I don't know how much Mr Wilson's unemployment had to do with abuse suffered in childhood, but how horribly ironic that he ended up being mandated to a training placement with the man who inflicted abuse on him as a child.

  4. A quick heads up. Ch4 Dispatches Next Monday, 2nd March 20.00 has a program on 'Britain's Benefits Crackdown' .

    'With government promises to end the 'something for nothing culture', reporter Liz MacKean investigates the impact of Britain's benefit sanctions'.
    (Courtesy of TV Choice)

    May be worth a look. Has got to be better than CH5's 'Benefits Britain: Life on the Dole' on an hour later.


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