Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

watching Watching A4e

with 21 comments

Is it time for historian to hang up her boots? Was a good sport..

As Watching A4e hits all time lows, this has lead to one of the largest independent groups sticking up for unemployed rights, Ipswich Unemployed Action, criticising Watching A4e and the direction its heading.

Internet-imperialism” aside, Watching A4e isn’t the site it used to be. What was once an impartial criticism site of A4e has now become A4e’s press office. Widespread refusal to publish comments as an extreme form of moderation/internet censorship to paranoia of legal action from past threats received. Watching A4e appears to be a combination between an  arms-length  extension of Indus Delta and some form of official  partnership  with A4e.

Let me quote half of their most recent article:-

When A4e’s main website went down recently there were some of us who felt that it was the result of a decision to revamp the site as part of an image makeover. But no. It’s back, with no changes. Even the link to “Emma’s blog” is there on the home page, even though it hasn’t been updated since last November.

Andrew Dutton has posted a response to the various accusations, and he ends with a note on “A4e and Emma Harrison”. “As a result of Emma Harrison’s resignation, announced on 24 February, she is no longer a Director or Chairman of A4e which means she cannot participate at Board meetings. The governance of A4e has therefore changed with immediate effect and decisions relating to future dividend policy will be determined by the Board under a new, independent non-executive Chairman. In addition, Emma’s salary as Chairman and Director and payments made by A4e in respect of Thornbridge Hall have ceased.” So who made the decisions about dividends before? And that last bit about Thornbridge Hall is interesting. The Board are really seeking to distance themselves from the woman who still owns most of the company.

But back to the websites. The MyA4e site looks like something designed by professionals who have no clear idea of who their target audience is. One could say the same about the multitude of other sites set up by A4e. There’s A4e Voicewhich is a blog for good news items. The latest, posted on 2 March, is aimed at refuting the criticisms of A4e for using clients in work experience roles in its own company.

Then there’s A4e Transitions which is an arm of the company which provides services to companies which are making lots of people redundant. Very different is A4e Careers which apparently seeks to recruit people to work for the company. It’s a mess, with cartoons, handwriting-style fonts and all the familiar slogans. Much more sober is the Direct payments for social care site. Eleven local authorities contract with A4e to deliver this service.

Then there’s A4e Skills which is “the direct delivery arm for vocational learning, delivering Apprenticeship programmes, work based learning (QCF & NVQ’s), in-house training and vocationally related courses, accredited courses including e learning courses. Most training takes place within the workplace, working flexibly to meet the needs of both organisations and individuals.”

Finally there’s A4e Insight, their “research and consultancy arm”. This is where the line between private company and public sector becomes dangerously blurred.

What annoys me was, after A4e took down their main website (whereas historian even acknowledge about the released figures) she assumed, and wrongly stuck it out there that the site was going to be redesigned? What the fuck gave you that impression?  Obviously not leaked information or a rumour from a reliable source. Lost many friends over the years? 

Sounded so much like an excuse to cover up a data protection breach (which historian hasn’t mentioned) in defence of A4e to which you emulate to be criticising: how does that work?  With no statements made to the media or on social networking, it appears Watching A4e was the ones to pick up on the hundreds confused why they cannot access the A4e website.  Someone had mentioned in a comment that a redesign would be left with a splash page. In reality, a web design company would test it on a test machine, then the previous site will be replaced within minutes. No downtime.

Historian (someone correct me if I am wrong) used to work in welfare-to-work and is a fan of that “concept” – probably working for A4e once? (assumption) Has she been offered a job (or have a job) working at A4e now, so cannot step out of line?

Not watching A4e too well?

She reports Andrew Dutton’s blog comment… this is NOT a new change on the website… It has been there for a few days. We reported this on February 27th 2012! We aren’t sure how long this has been up prior to us reporting it but A4e website states “Posted on February 26, 2012 by admin“. This is just very sloppy. The reasons they ceased the payments for Thornbridge Hall is (like we reported) due to damage limitation. If, fraud is widespread… that money is illegal money (“proceeds of crime”)… pouring it into a different account (business, personal, or overseas… whatever it doesn’t matter…) is money laundering.

I agree about the lack of target market comment, however, was it 1 + 1 = 3? You hate a website, it goes down… you assume its being redesigned. We were first to report it was due to the DNS records for mya4e.com (and the www version) being set to (loopback address). Someone tried A4e’s website by changing mya4e.com in their hosts file to point to the IP address that the website is hosted on. This apparently (we didn’t confirm it) resulted in a password protected page being displayed, not a new site – suggesting it was down for security reasons. Rumours were made that it was down due to such instructions being ordered by DWP.

Anyway…. A4e Transitions used to be A4e Tomorrow apparently. Then talking about A4e Insight. Old news, I think you already reported about them anyhow and is inconsistent with the “attack the design” theme, to which you mention nothing about.

What we are getting at

Since the latest claims of A4e fraud has been released, Watching A4e has been very quiet. Too quiet. Hundreds of people visiting the website for latest news… me included, nothing other than links to Financial Times requiring a subscription, and relaying information already reported in the press knowing well that the newspaper etc. would have checked the sources first to minimise any risk of legal action.

We reported more on A4e than Watching A4e in the recent month… it shouldn’t be that way at all!

To report a statement almost a week late is just pathetic. To make silly claims of a website redesign because it was shit before it went down is also pathetic. I am annoyed at A4e, as unlike the majority of websites using an open-source blog system like wordpress (this site uses it, so did WPN etc.) who have the decently to keep the credits in the footer intact… multi-million pound profit business A4e, who doesn’t want to spend money on a commercial alternative, removes such credit.

Assuming Historian isn’t working for the devil lol… you cannot fear legal threats. You report facts and opinions, not vexatious or false, with evidence to support it. You cannot be sued for giving someone bad press if its accurate and truthful. If A4e has sent you a Cease and Desist (not the case with PHA Media, they don’t know what one is, they are a PR firm), remove your personal details, and upload it… you will have the support of ALL the like-minded individuals on the internet.

Seems rather pointless for such a website to clamp down on free speech and limits its reporting in such a way. I would go as far as saying Watching A4e is a traitor to the online movement of justice amongsts jobseekers and taxpayers alike. Personally, I don’t think there is any longer a need for Watching A4e, how it currently is. I hope this is a wake up call. Your thoughts on the site truly welcomed!!


Written by Universal Jobmatch

March 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Posted in a4e, Action 4 employment

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21 Responses

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  1. A4Ewatch is a shill for A4E, There is a veneer of criticism, but what you really get is an awful lot of A4E and other poverty pimp talking points. I should add that having posted a link to the initial letter that came to light from PHA-Media, the post never got past moderation. Neither did a post mentioning the leaked data, or the workfare protests.

    All 4 Emma

    March 4, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    • Watching a4e has it ever commented on A4E being a partner with BAE, are they still parthers with BAE the global weapons systems company?. people therefore could refuse to attend A4E in any capacity if A4E are still partners with BAE, due to being anti war. i once commented to A4E about them being partners with BAE the next week BAE was not in their list of partners.


      March 23, 2012 at 9:56 am

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised, love, if that blooming Emma Harrison woman and blooming historian were sat out in that blooming great big house drinking champagne and chuckling between themselves as they type up that blooming watching a4e blog.

    Brenda Barnstubble

    March 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm

  3. Maybe we should start a new site called Watching Watching A4e?


    March 4, 2012 at 5:38 pm

  4. Sorry didn’t realise the connection had already been made!


    March 4, 2012 at 5:45 pm

  5. I think your last paragraph just about sums it up.

    However, your use of two “!” ‘s in the last sentence is making me scream and hit the Lorazepam.


    March 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm

  6. I used to read it but the tone increasingly makes it look more like a”Ministry of Disinformation” front for A4E.If people really want up to date information come here instead.


    March 4, 2012 at 7:12 pm

  7. I only read “Watching A4e” once – and became suspicious when they said that defamatory comments against millionaire English Rose Emma were unacceptable.

    Nalik / Junis

    March 4, 2012 at 10:04 pm

  8. It used to be better. The moderation and approved comments a little too strict for me.
    Of course comedy and harsh criticism aren’t everyones style. And maybe the past incidents mentioned have made ‘Ms’ Historian a little cautious.

    I don’t think A4e would even want the rather tame observations found on the site. So I doubt it’s controlled by A4e. But it wouldn’t surprise me.
    This article probably does highlight what many may have thought about the site though.
    There’s often good info there, but just a bit too poiite with regard to an industry that is not going to change with meek neutral opinion or bland articles composed simply of facts and news links.

    Has this Historian ever been unemployed long enough to be put on a new deal effort? Did she ever work in the industry I wonder? I wonder what first inspired the creation of the site?
    Indeed, why does she just concentrate on A4e when there is far more to be concerned with than just this one horrid company

    I do feel a little sorry for this Historian person after the highlighting of this subject, Though I have before thought that something seemed a little amiss with that site.
    And after some very balanced and fair comments were blocked I thought ‘Oh well’. And never posted there again.

    Of course we might be totally wrong about the site. And to be fair, she can run her blog however she feels fit. To state the obvious.

    Mr No

    March 5, 2012 at 12:08 am

  9. Sold out.

    Green Garland

    March 5, 2012 at 11:22 am

    • How sexist, so unfortunate to have a period after selling out… but thats life I guess.

      Work Programme

      March 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    • What’s a period?

      Andrew Coates

      March 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm

  10. The latest drivel …

    That document
    Last week a set of data was broadcast round the internet. It seemed to show some performance stats for a whole lot of A4e’s “partners” on the Work Programme. I had a look, decided it was very difficult to interpret and not very relevant anyway. But now Left Foot Forward have got hold of it and have asked A4e about it. The interpretation Left Foot Forward puts on it is that fewer than 10% of clients have found jobs, and fewer than 2% have held on to the job for 26 weeks. A4e says that the data “was drawn from a test website which is confidential and protected” and “was obtained from a password-protected secure site”, so it’s not clear how it got out. A4e threatens legal action “should you publish this data or make any of the inferences set out.” Left Foot Forward couldn’t get any further clarification of what law A4e intended to use. I remain dubious about the value of these figures.
    It’s timely that Richard Johnson, who used to be head of welfare-to-work for Serco, has written about the need for absolute openness in the WP performance figures. He talks about the PAC’s questions about money being creamed off by providers. “One provider, in particular, appeared to be behaving like the fattest of cats, pouring many millions of dividend cream into her own bowl.” And he wants an independent regulator. It’s an interesting read, even though I don’t agree with his conclusions.

    No mention of this site still, and notice the downplay of such figures, not to mention how historian is left in doubt of “how it got out”. 2 mins on IUA, you would have found out or about 1 minute on Left Foot Forward… on the comments!!

    Work Programme

    March 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm

  11. It is becoming clearer that the person behind A4ewatch has a financial interest in the W2W industry, and whilst they may have an issue with A4e as a company, they don’t want to grind the axe too hard in case it has a negative knock on effect to the wider industry (which the site owner clearly supports)

    All 4 Emma

    March 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    • We link to her to nark her.

      Normally Bloggers link, exhange posts – and it all goes well.

      I could name some heroic sites, such as Quaking Plums.

      Or I could name some anarchist sites, which we don’t entirely politically synch with (nearly but only nearly).

      She is a bit snooty.

      She does not link to the Ipswich Crew.


      And so Worky is free to have a bit of a good natured go at her.

      Andrew Coates

      March 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm

  12. Many of these claims Worky are unprovable allegations.

    Maybe it’s my Shining Knight side but they are likely to be innacurate about *Watching A4E*.

    She has exposed many of their wrong-doings.

    1) She has been a thorn in the side of A4E.
    2) They do not forget or forgive.

    Er that’s it.

    Andrew Coates

    March 6, 2012 at 11:06 am

    • hehe, well due to the fact we have had some complaints to this article, I think its best to create a follow up article in about a weeks time to continue this as of the praises we also got for the article – but in greater numbers.

      As for the A4e stats… they are almost half complete.

      Interestingly the criticism to this criticism post makes no mention about watching a4e’s censorship and relaxed reporting etc. but typically down to the assumption that the post states watching A4e are paid by A4e or run A4e’s press office.

      Totally absurd allegations there!!! Confusing similes, metaphors and satire with fact is downright pathetic. IMO… I better add that, so people know its my opinion and not intended to be fact.

      People these days… crikey!

      Basically, what the difference between a statement made not intended to be fact, and one what is factual? The factual one always have some supporting evidence behind it. As you can see there was no bank statements or copies of cheques posted alongside. No copy of contract made, and like we have reported a lot recently, PHA Media covers PR for A4e, not some blog called Watching A4e.

      ( PHA Media also covers their legal side in addition, it appears.)

      Work Programme

      March 6, 2012 at 11:30 am

  13. Historian has a go at her fan base/web users/readers:


    PS. Some readers helpfully send me lots of links to stories. Thanks, but there’s no need. Google alerts are very useful.

    What a very nasty comment. Especially considering the above linked post was written as of 7/3/2012 and I, who also am registered with the useful Google Alerts… got a Google Alert yesterday within 15 minutes of the articles being posted.

    What really got me about the above comment is the attitude. Although IUA and WPN (also when NDS, FNDS) wasn’t open to people being able to post articles on the blog… we have a community… I would never bite the heads of people helping out by posting links… just because those links are already received and seen to and action taken.

    Lets take the comment by JBS:

    Two articles in The Guardian, timed five minutes apart:



    I had already wrote 3 articles about these… but considering the nature of the blog where we like to spread blog posts out, these are yet to be published – (today at some point), and those links are useful for everyone else in the meanwhile (and even after the articles been posted)

    We at IUA allow free speech (within reason) and do not use our comment system as a (private) comment form.

    We would like to point out that we appreciate our comments from our community!!! We would never refuse to publish such helpful comments nor remove comments because it contains a link of a third party news website (that we generally get our content from anyway).

    Work Programme

    March 7, 2012 at 11:27 am

  14. was a member of watching a4e when they first started was an ok site however when they got threatened with legal action in 2009 then came back they were not the same watching a4e i left the site
    a lot of people then and now say they are a4e who knows


    March 22, 2012 at 2:26 am

  15. Today, watching A4e has responded to this post…

    http://watchinga4e.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/half-page-in-private-eye.html (previously a .com – I hope the change doesn’t hurt their search engine positions)

    I’m sad to see that the owner of a blog which has been tireless in its criticism of the treatment of the unemployed has decided to wage war on Watching A4e. His conclusions are bizarre, and I won’t waste time trying to answer them. I don’t suppose it will help to say that we are both on the same side, although our approaches are different.

    I am not sure after leaving it so late whether there were any point whatsoever of mentioning it.

    As for the part statement (as quoted above) – thats like saying the Conservatives and Labour are on the same side because there ideas are largely the same.

    IUA isn’t to make enemies – watching A4e once our ally, has fell far below the standard it once set with their old website after being threatened with legal action. We want to persuade them to get back into gear to do some actual half-decent reporting without fear of being sued for fair comments.

    Furthermore, along the way watching a4e has sold out to gain friends with the usual journalists etc. who aren’t interested or not allowed to publish their articles in the biased media.

    It seems since this post, progress is being made, with more comments appearing. watching a4e is rather popular… so I don’t doubt that previously people decided not to comment. Just, as mentioned above, peoples comments have been declined. Ironically enough watching a4e is in no way liable for comments anyway, its their host, Google, who has the responsibility, in addition to the person who made the comments.

    Work Programme

    March 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm

  16. Just a thought on all of this here – it doesn’t serve anyone to fight among ‘ourselves’. It is a good thing to level constructive criticism, but beware of ‘divide and conquer’ scenarios. And it may be hammy, but it’s true – united we stand, divided we fall. Perhaps this could also be relayed back to Watching A4e. The W2W providers always present a united front to government and the public. They may not support one of their member, as under current circumstances, but they won’t turn on one of thier own – until the threat encroages on them. So lets learn frm that.


    March 26, 2012 at 10:26 am

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