A4E Fraud Charges as Work Programme Collapses.
The Crown Prosecution Service announces,
Sue Patten, Head of Fraud at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Following an investigation by the Thames Valley Police Economic Crime Unit, the CPS has authorised charges against six women and three men in connection with alleged fraudulent activity at Action 4 Employment (A4E), a social purpose company contracted by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to deliver the ‘Inspire to Aspire’ employment and training scheme.
“It is alleged that between February 2009 and February 2013 nine A4E employees including one contract manager, seven recruiters and an administrator, employed across three A4E offices in the South East of England, committed numerous offences of fraud. It is alleged that they forged documentation to support fraudulent claims to the DWP for reward payments which, under the terms of the contract, were paid out when the scheme successfully placed individuals in employment. It is alleged that many of the reward payments related either to people who never attended A4E or to clients whom A4E had not successfully placed in employment. The contract was to deliver motivation and training and to assist people to find employment.
“The nine individuals are charged with a total of 60 offences, including conspiracy to defraud, multiple counts of forgery, and making and possessing articles for use in fraud.
“This decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. We have determined that there is a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest.
“All individuals will appear before Slough Magistrates’ Court on 14 October 2013.
“All individuals are now the subject of criminal proceedings and have the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
When will they get round to Emma? we ask.
Meanwhile the Work Programme is disarray.
The government has put a brave face on its failures by saying,
More than 168,000 jobseekers have escaped long-term unemployment and found lasting work – normally at least 6 months – through the Work Programme, an increase of 37,000 in three months, new figures show.
Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said: “Previous schemes didn’t provide the right support for the long-term unemployed and offered poor value for money for the taxpayer. We launched the Work Programme to tackle this so people got the help they needed to find a job and, crucially, given support to stay in work.”
Johnny Void says,
Statistics released by the DWP today show that the performance of the Work Programme – which was already achieving less than doing nothing at all – is steadily getting worse.
By June 2013 a lower percentage of people who had been on the scheme for one full year had found a job which lasted at least 6 months – known as a sustained job outcome – than in the previous two months. In April 2013 14% of claimants who had been on the scheme for one year had found sustained jobs, by June this had dropped to 13%.
Following intervention by the UK Statistics Agency, the latest Work Programme figures now focus on the numbers of people finding work after spending one year on the scheme. This change has been introduced to reflect that the longer someone has been on the two year Work Programme, the more likely they are to find a job. This means that the number of job outcome payments, paid to welfare-to-work companies when someone has been in work for six months (or 3 months for the ‘hardest to help’), will rise over time. This has nothing to do with the Work Programme becoming more successful – it simply means that as more people are referred onto the programme, and more people have been on the scheme longer, then there will be more job outcomes.
The Morning Star points out that this is no success,
Employment Minister Mark Hoban can manipulate his figures for as long as he wants to portray his Work Programme as a glowing success, but he’s wasting his and our time.
A programme that delivers a proper job to a measly 4 per cent of participants after a year on the scheme is a failure and does not merit ministerial praise as “significantly improving.”
The Work Programme has in year two of the scheme found sustained employment for just 17 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds even though the Department for Work and Pensions estimated that, left to their own devices, 30 per cent would be able to do so.
Similar negative results apply for workers aged 25 and over, those coming off employment support allowance and, worst of all, disabled workers.
The cruel, short-sighted policy of shutting down Remploy factories – imposed by both Con-Dem and new Labour governments – has prevented growing numbers of disabled people from earning their own living.
Further, the disproportionate effect of the bedroom tax on the disabled exposes the bogus claims made during last year’s successful Paralympic games in London.
By any standards, the government’s flagship employment policy is a failure in terms of finding people proper jobs.
In the meantime people coming off the Work Programme are beginning to be shunted onto yet more ‘schemes’ run by the usual ‘providers’.
A little birdie tells us that a “big shake up” in planned for us at the start of December.
This does not sound promising.