Private Eye: Ipswich Unemployed Action Exposes A4E Fiddle.
In the latest Private Eye,
“Welfare-to-work contractor A4E has found a new way to make money from the government’s struggling Work programme: claim bonuses for people who already have jobs.
The programme supposedly pays by results, giving cash to firms like A4E only when they get claimants off the dole. The government considers claimants ‘attached’ to A4E and co for such purposes only once they have had an interview. But internal A4E memos obtained by claimants group Ipswich Unemployed Action earlier this year included the instruction that as long as they grab claimants for an interview up to the day before starting a job, “you will be eligible for the attachment fee and any subsequent outcome/sustainment payments.”
The original post, by Work Programme:
Ipswich Unemployed Action can reveal that since the Work Programme commenced the DWP has sent memos out to providers at least THRICE (3 times) to clarify particulars in particular relating to job outcomes and attachment fees that are already readily available and clearly set out in the contract and guidance.
It appears some providers are making claims with irregularities – we aren’t suggesting this is fraud; it could be a common mistake without intent of malice; but appears to be rather widespread.
A4e (in particular its employees) has been found guilty of fraud on New Deal and Flexible New Deal… can they now make the triple and make it the Work Programme also? (Yes, they had more contracts than these, for the purposes of this thrice should suffice?)
Private Eye goes on to note that the DWP gives £400 for each “attachment” followed by amounts from £4,000 to £13,000 if the attached person stays in work for two years,
The rest of the article suggests that A4E have been handing out £50 vouchers to the unemployed to sign up for their programme - as well they might!
“The DWP seems happy with this state of affairs”.
Margaret Hodge, chair of the Commons public accounts committee, has taken these issues up.
Asked about this “wheeze” DWP Permanent Secretary, Robert Devereux claimed to have ”relatively tight rules” about such things. He added that the contractor may not have helped people in this position get a job but they could perhaps “assist the claimant in staying in work…”
The Eye concludes by noting the crisis in the Work Programme.
“Making these apparently unjustified payments may be a way of bailing out a failing scheme.”
Watching A4E reports this story, gracefully failing to mention Ipswich Unemployed Action’s role in the exposé.