Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

A4E Insight: Replacing Council Staff with Unpaid Workfare?

with 9 comments

The Independent on Sunday reports on the A4E scandal.

This stands out,

“A4e Insights, which is designing workfare programmes for local authorities. It was already the case that, once those programmes were developed, A4e itself would not bid for the work. Here.

What is A4E Insight?

A4e Insight is the Research and Consultancy arm of A4e, a market leader in global public service reform and in the design, development and delivery of front-line public services that benefit individuals, organisations and communities.

We work at the boundary between the public and private sectors and provide a range of strategic services to private sector companies, private investors and public sector organisations.

For  example,

A4e is now a mentor to public sector organisations wishing to become mutuals or other forms of social enterprise.  A4e was named as one of the new mentors to offer their support to fledgling public service mutuals when Francis Maude, Cabinet Office Minister, launched the second wave of mutual pathfinders on a visit to Swindon on 2 February.

It is interesting that a company shrouded in allegations of corruption and fraud should be ‘mentoring’ schemes to take public services out of public ownership and into shady ‘mutuals’ and ‘public interest’ companies.

These plans always involve job losses, and lots of profit for top managers and shareholders.

Are they, and local government, going to use unpaid labour as well?

Is this the real aim of the Community Action Programme?

That’s blue-sky thinking for coping with what Emma Harrison calls “fantastic” cuts.

The future of A4E: helping people make money out of slave labour.


Written by Andrew Coates

February 26, 2012 at 11:49 am

Posted in Cuts, Welfare State, Workfare

Tagged with ,

9 Responses

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  1. The Indy and the Guardian have been doing their job on this.

    I suspect their journalists have, in the last few days, been looking at, amongst other Blogs, Ipswich Unemployed Action.

    Which is, after all, what good journalists should do.

    They might care to look at these general reflections on the protests against Workfare:


    Andrew Coates

    February 26, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    • I am half way through the report I am doing on A4e. It could involve an in-depth investigation into A4e and its officers.

      Work Programme

      February 26, 2012 at 12:43 pm

  2. The company owned by David Cameron’s former ‘back-to-work’ tsar is at the centre of a new fraud probe.
    Detectives are investigating the alleged misuse of  thousands of pounds’ worth of Government vouchers meant to help the jobless back into work.
    Officers from Thames Valley Police’s Economic Crime Unit are examining claims that staff at employment firm A4e used the vouchers to boost their annual salaries instead of handing them to the unemployed clients they were  supposed to be helping.
    Staff at A4e – the firm built up by multi-millionaire Emma Harrison – are believed to have stolen the vouchers and exchanged them for goods in high street stores. The widening of the inquiry comes as a male A4e employee was interviewed under caution by Thames Valley detectives.
    The man, who attended a police station by appointment yesterday afternoon, is the second staff member to be interviewed since the fraud inquiry was revealed in last week’s Mail on Sunday. Four former employees arrested last month remain on bail until March.
    Mrs Harrison quit as chairman of A4e, which has received Government contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds, on Friday amid allegations taxpayers’ money was claimed for getting unemployed people into jobs that lasted as little as one day. She had earlier resigned from her Government role.

    The vouchers, available in £10, £20 and £50 denominations, are meant to enable jobseekers to buy smart clothes and stationery to make themselves presentable at job interviews.

    They are redeemable in stores and supermarkets, including Marks & Spencer, Primark, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

    The exact value of the alleged fraud is unknown, but sources indicate it is in the region of ‘tens of thousands of pounds’.

    A police source said: ‘Detectives are examining the  various ways in which these vouchers were used. There are suggestions that some were given out as bonuses for getting unemployed clients into jobs and there are suspicions that some members of staff may have helped themselves to the vouchers without consent.

    ‘If this proves to be correct, there could be more arrests and further charges.’

    Emma Harrison, pictured with her husband Jim. Detectives are investigating a the alleged misuse of funds

    Until now, it was believed the inquiry related solely to A4e’s Slough headquarters after officers met managers for four hours on Friday, February 17, demanding that staff hand over documents and computer files dating back two years.

    But a source has confirmed that the four staff members arrested last month worked in the Thames Valley region. This means that they may have worked at A4e branches in  Banbury, Bracknell, Oxford, Reading or Staines.

    One of those arrested was Julie Grimes, 49. Ms Grimes left her junior role as a ‘client adviser’ at the firm’s Slough branch in November 2010  after an internal investigation revealed she was suspected of falsifying company documents, which were supposed to provide a record of clients who had been placed in full-time work.

    It is alleged that she claimed clients had found full-time work when in reality some of the positions lasted only a day. This would have allowed A4e to claim a bonus of up to £2,000 for each ‘successful’ placement, with Ms Grimes receiving £50.

    Ms Grimes was arrested on January 18 on suspicion of fraud. Two men, aged 41 and 35, and a 28-year-old woman were also arrested.

    A whistleblower who contacted The Mail on Sunday claimed senior management  ordered staff to chase targets ‘by any means possible’.

    Wayne green

    February 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm

  3. ‘Poverty …is a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society, without which nations and communities could not exist in a state of civilisation. It is the lot of man – it is the source of wealth, since without poverty there would be no labour, and without labour there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth’.

    – Patrick Colquhoun (1806)

    Patrick Colquhoun

    February 26, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    • Ah yes, Patrick Colqhoun, inherited a pile of money and then added to it by buying into slave plantations in the U.S.

      I’m sure he’s just the sort of chap who’d fit right into the modern economy.


      February 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm

  4. F. Engels,( in 1844) described the motives of the authors of the 1834 Poor Law as ”to enforce the poor into the Procrustean bed of their preconceived notions. To do this they treated the poor with incredible savagery.”

    – Friedrich Engels (1844)


    February 26, 2012 at 8:34 pm

  5. I used to quote…..Shit, we’ve no money….I’d better do some overtime.

    30 odd years on, sick and and disabled; all I can quote is………… Shit, we’ve no money.

    Poverty makes you use less words in your quotes.

    Chris Gallagher

    February 26, 2012 at 9:48 pm

  6. […] this history lesson was merely an A4e insight…. (not to be confused with the company of the same name) or whether Emma Harrison’s claims was […]

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