Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

A4e fraud: current Mandatory Work Activity contract in jeopardy

with 33 comments

A4e could be in shit. deep shit. Not some contract from the past… but now they are being investigated for fraud on a live contract.

Don’t get your hopes up though. Mandatory Work Activity scheme is a DWP set-up bribes for benefit sanctions workfare scheme. Its sole intention is forcing people off benefits (either sign off or 3 month sanctions) more than enslaving people to work for nothing (I wont mention that every National Minimum Wage group except the top one will be frozen this October. Oh, too bad I just did!).  Be late again (or commit any “offence”) that 3 months becomes 6 months. Yes, you guessed it the likes of A4e keeps the “bribe” regardless if you complete 4 weeks, do one day or don’t start. That is not fraud.

I would be very surprised if A4e lost all its contracts, for any fraud found – systemic or one-off – on the Mandatory Work Activity contract. This minor disagreement broke out into a row because the ability to downplay fraud allegations as “one-off by few previous bad employees in the past” can no longer be said – this case makes David Cameron & Co sweat… its getting more difficult to keep A4e by the minute…

It just depends on a combination of press and action taken by MPs – who seem very little bothered – on all sides of the Commons; something you think would be more popular than with the fraud under previous Labour administration due to the ConDem cuts!

This said, the Daily Mail and Guardian seems quite “active” recently regarding A4e – but its too little, too late.

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Written by Universal Jobmatch

March 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm

33 Responses

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  1. I just found out that A4E have a branch in Palestine called Amin… I wonder if they are committing fraud there too?

    Ami

    March 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

  2. Both DWP and A4e are dystopian, unethical organizations that want to exploit the poor. I do not know such a thing can be legal in 21st UK. It’s as if things are getting worse and worse. There is no “social security” in the UK anymore when there was such a thing in the past.

    Nalik / Junis

    March 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm

  3. Sky News:

    ‘A4e’s chief executive was told about the probe at a meeting with a senior DWP official earlier on Friday where the company was warned about the potential consequences.’

    No tea and biscuits, then?

    JBS

    March 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm

  4. As I stated before.

    Strong rumours exist of A4e sanctioning at a rate of at least 10X that of Ingeus (the largest WP provider).

    The papers really need to look into this!

    If true, it is extremely disturbing.

    John Lamont

    March 9, 2012 at 7:07 pm

  5. On another note:

    Why does historian (of the watchingA4e site) write all the comments also?

    I strongly suspect he/she does, as contributors such as “polly” seem to have had a massive conversion in the last week or so.

    I think you need to emphasise that they sold out.

    None of my comments that are vaguely critical even make it!

    Historian is just an a4e stooge.

    John Lamont

    March 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm

  6. I am inclined to disagree that A4e might not suffer enormous consequences.

    Evidence of Systemic fraud effectively is the death knell for the company, much as it was for Enron and Arthur Andersen.

    Arthur Anderson had 85000 employees in 2002, it now has 200, it never recovered its reputation. And neither will A4e in my opinion.

    A4e can quite as easily go the same way.

    I would argue that A4e is being described in government circles as “shoddy goods”, but due to the WP ideology the reluctance exists to cut it loose, lest it will affect the WP as a whole (and it would believe me).

    No, A4e will go, but only when the pressure becomes too much to bear for the government.

    That day will come, mark my words.

    BWP

    March 9, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    • When A4e start to loose their lifeblood of DWP funding, staff will be shed and have to look for employment elsewhere.

      Unfortunately for those hit by the coming fallout, the company name has now been associated with fraud in the public mind and any prospective employer looking at their CVs will no doubt have reservations whether they were involved too.

      I’d rather disclose pointless mandatory work activities on a CV than make mention of having worked for A4e right now

      gil_jnr

      March 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      • well they aint going to get any more mortgages now that’s for sure.

        we all know how the titanic went down a4e has hit its last iceberg and its time to abandon ship.

        the captain fucked off over a week ago mind so knew it was all over then.

        super ted

        March 9, 2012 at 10:47 pm

  7. Any company in the a4e supply chain, glendwyr university, and all the others, they will find being linked to a4e will be bad press.. I Was interviewed by the bbc radio 4 last year, and earlier this year about a4e.. So i am using every contact i can find to spread the word.. Going to make it too hot to be linked to a4e.. well everyone has to have a hobby

    Martin Williams

    March 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm

  8. Even proponents of the WP realize that A4e has, and continue to be incredibly damaging to the ’cause’.

    My advice to the media is to dig deeper, in my experience, this company has been nothing better than a well orchestrated charade.

    Believe me I know about these things, and am intimately familiar with both the working practices of A4e and other providers, having been on the ground and critically observing, often closely.

    It is a sign of the times that it managed its pretence for so long. Many of us realized – but what could we do?

    I see that the embarrassingly amateur Cease and Desist attempts by PHA Media have trickled away.

    I’d certainly like to see the mechanics of the PHA/A4e contract, given that it is 100% tax payers money. Scrutiny here is the key.

    BWP

    March 9, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    • A4e morale is at an all time low.

      What happened to the cluster bomb legal threat attacks?

      What happened to the spamming of positive news to try and overshadow the bad?

      Have A4e finally woken up to reality?

      Has anyone seen A4e’s wikipedia page recently?

      A4e (Action for Endangerment of Electrostatic Homosexuality & Precursors to Space Development) is a training company based in the United Kingdom. The company began in Sheffield in 1991[2][3] to provide redundant steelworkers with training so that they could find new jobs.[4] They now operate in ten countries, but retain a significant presence in the UK where they work with organisations in the public sector such as the Department for Work and Pensions. In the wake of various controversies and criminal investigations, MPs Fiona Mactaggart and former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Margaret Hodge have urged the UK government to suspend contracts with A4e.

      What is that all about?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A4e

      Work Programme

      March 9, 2012 at 11:54 pm

      • i dunno have you lol.

        A4e (Action for Engagement in Indentured Servitude & Misappropriating Public Money) is a training company based in the United Kingdom. The company began in Sheffield in 1991[2][3] to provide redundant steelworkers with training so that they could find new jobs.[4] They now operate in ten countries, but retain a significant presence in the UK where they work with organisations in the public sector such as the Department for Work and Pensions. In the wake of various controversies and criminal investigations, MPs Fiona Mactaggart and former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Margaret Hodge have urged the UK government to suspend Emma Harrison from Tower Bridge.[5][6]

        super ted

        March 10, 2012 at 12:19 am

  9. A4e and the abuse of the sanctioning process as a means to profit.

    Sanctioning deliberately and with no due cause was something that always intrigued me. How do A4e win on a sanction?

    Especially reading the allegations of a participant in Edinburgh who stated that many of the staff lied. These claims need to be addressed.

    http://www.indymediascotland.org/node/25750

    “A4e LIE TO GET CLAIMANTS’ BENEFITS CUT

    The Edinburgh office of A4e, headed by manager Dorothy Hewatt, is notorious for bullying and disrespectful treatment of claimants. Edinburgh Claimants have made several official complaints that employees, including Hewatt herself, have made untruthful statements to the DWP to try and get claimants’ benefits cut.”

    What is needed is to determine the veracity of the story, because people don’t make these allegations lightly.

    Do they use sanctioning as a deliberate tool to eject difficult cases?

    What % do they sanction compared to other providers?

    As the previous poster stated, I suspect that is a huge issue, especially the 10 times other providers figure.

    And were the DWP party to this?

    These figures need to come out so that we can see the real story.

    JA

    March 9, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    • Yep, sadly the DWP do not have figures on sanctions from what providers who raise the doubts!!

      Someone tried before with a FoI request.

      Lack of accountability.

      Work Programme

      March 9, 2012 at 11:56 pm

  10. By the way keep up the good work.
    At least one blog speaks the truth.

    JA

    March 9, 2012 at 11:39 pm

  11. I’m concerned about the lack of definition over what activities you can be mandated to do. The ‘customer’ has little protection from the opinion of their Personal Advisers regarding mandated activity. Giving the Provider authority to decide what is appropriate and considering all the Personal Advisors and Providers involved, it’s probably creating some huge inconsistencies within the Work Programme.

    Another worrying thing is, if the Personal Advisor deems an outcome is sanctionable and the ‘customer’ appeals against the DWP decision to sanction benefits, what guidelines do the appeal or tribunal officers use to make their decision? I’m having trouble finding what activities are acceptable or when a sanction is appropriate.

    EV

    March 10, 2012 at 1:23 am

    • Jobcentre Plus…

      Well there is two groups:- lawful and actual.

      The latter group means something which they can do in reality – the former is what they can under law, although its up to an appeal tribunal post-sanction and financial difficulties for this to be judged as such.

      Now the providers have some extra non-sense up their sleeves. DWP and politicians deliberately set up a scheme without any requirements… although people complained to them (probably 300,000 complaints over the years) about New Deal and Flexible New Deal.

      Work Programme providers…

      So Work Programme providers can do anything they wish, lawful or not, with exception to major crimes against the person such as murder, manslaughter and rape.

      They can defraud, detain, raise vexatious sanction doubts and false reports to benefit fraud helpline, mandate jobseekers to exhaustive activities… the list goes on and on.

      Work Programme

      March 10, 2012 at 9:26 am

      • Well, they assault their victims for starters. Working Links are particularly infamous for this.

        Working Links Victim

        March 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm

  12. A little change of subject, but I thought I would cheer you up with this grim news from the “opposition”:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/mar/10/labour-welfare-benefits-work-programme

    If that is from the opposition, what chance do the unemployed have?

    Who, exactly, is going to offer the unemployed these jobs?

    For that matter, where are all these guaranteed jobs coming from?

    The new get tough stand from New Labour sounds as though it is a variation on the Coalition’s “Community Action Programme”, itself an early admission of the failure of the Work Programme.

    Tobanem

    March 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    • Nothing new there. Surprised they keeping the Work Programme… but I suppose if A4e is no more, it will soon change.

      Any ideas of new schemes?

      All generic so far

      New Deal, Work Experience, Work Programme

      Surprised there isn’t a workfare scheme called “A Job” or “A New Job”

      Work Programme

      March 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    • And the period of the first sanction under the NEW Community Action Programme rises from 3 months to 6 months!

      Milly the Pede

      March 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      • There is only so much people can take.

        Staff will be assaulted and perhaps even killed.

        You are late… and your family has no money to live on for the next 6 months? F**K that!

        It could get nasty.

        Work Programme

        March 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      • The only verdict is vengeance 🙂

        V

        March 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm

      • Capitalism abhors an absence of profit.

        JBS

        March 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

  13. We have seen, in the last few weeks especially, an avalanche of allegations against A4e, most of a tremendously serious nature.

    Whether these allegations prove to be true or not, I think that the general feeling about this company is one of a poorly run, unethical, bullying and deeply unpleasant culture.

    These allegations, and many more, are strewn all over the net for eternity, whatever any outcome.

    The companies name is dirt.

    Look at professionally run WP organisations such as Ingeus (I believe the largest provider larger than A4e) – one cannot even find one poor comment on the net – don’t believe me? Try for yourself.

    The fact is A4e distinctly sets itself apart by allegations of fraud, bullying, manipulation and lies.

    Ain’t that the goddamn truth.

    JA

    March 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm

  14. I have found complaints posted about Ingeus. Not in the last week or two maybe, but I haven’t been looking specifically for any, but they are out there.

    Where they may not be quite so ‘fraudulent’ in comparison to some other providers, they are all quite harsh with regard to the treatment of their ‘customers’. A4e the top of that particular league I would guess. They are horrid.

    With regard to these harsh first time sanctions?
    What are these for? The coming CAP? Or MWRA? Or both?
    I’ve read that with regard to such sanctions the first offence was still in line with the current 2, 4 then 6 months sanctions. These are still in place seemingly, but not for MWRA? This was last year I read such. I suppose they have been amending again.

    It would appear that there is, rather pleasingly, a high level of awareness now about the free labour aspects.
    A high percentage of public opinion is in agreement about how it’s unfair and so are many companies, even if their motives behind this view and subsequent actions are questionable. Good though. I’m sure one or two are even sincere in their withdrawal.
    Maybe more importantly, many people are not falling for the desperate flannel spewing from the politicians mouths as they try to spin and further propagandise.

    Thankfully many of the masses aren’t as dumb as expected. Oh you lovely people. Thank you.
    Like we revel in all this stuff, It’s actually tough to survive. Someone has to speak out!
    Luxuries? Not very often. Skyplusbox? No, not even if I was working! Xbox? Nope. Couple of beers at the weekend, perhaps? Maybe? Have to see how it goes.
    A car? A train fare is a blooming luxury these days! Something for nothing culture? An element perhaps? Not a culture. And even if it was so, it was grown by the government. The petri dish of the poor.

    So anyway, when they press ahead with the free labour ‘initiatives’ and people start getting these long term sanctions for refusing on moral grounds, we know we have a high level of public support.
    I tend not to worry about the blinkered right wingers or the wingless morons who spout how they ‘pay our wages’.
    I tend to concentrate on the supportive and the positive. No time for the clueless. As well as keeping informed we still have to navigate our way through all this pathetic nonsense week to week. Wondering what bullshit is going to be thrown at us next. Trying with varying results to not get too stressed. And actually yes there are jobs out there, but not enough and not every individual is suitable for every job.

    Blahblahblah…

    Mr No

    March 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm

  15. According to this:
    http://www.feweek.co.uk/2012/03/09/a4e-included-in-preferred-prison-education-bidder-list/
    A4e are are preferred bidder for prison education contracts. They can’t possibly be awarded any more contracts, can they?

    Neal

    March 10, 2012 at 7:16 pm

  16. THIRTY children are going hungry each month in Stroud – and demand for meals from the Foodbank is outstripping all expectations.

    The numbers the charity is feeding has rocketed thanks, they say, to problems with benefit payments and increasing numbers of people with debts.

    http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/30-children-starving-Stroud-month/story-15480712-detail/story.html

    super ted

    March 10, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    • Unfortunately its going to get worse,before it gets worse.

      ck

      March 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    • Walking to Ipswich Central Library just now (2.50) a bloke asked me for 50 pence to buy an onion.

      I cite this because nearly every day now I get someone in the street trying this.

      On the Library Internet there are people who spend their time trying to get dosh from the Pay Day Loans.

      It goes on and on.

      Andrew Coates

      March 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm

  17. Ingeus aren’t saints, agreed.

    But having experienced both Providers I can tell you, Ingeus are effectively on another planet as far as professionalism goes.

    Irrespective of my ideology.

    JA

    March 10, 2012 at 9:58 pm

  18. A4greed claim that they place a person in a job every 7 minutes. With their propensity for fraud (whoops! sorry I mean “creative accounting”) this could mean the same person is going round the revolving door every 7 minutes and filling a new job! KERCHING! Wonder what their CV looks like?
    On the subject of Ingeus – I too have experienced both Ingeus and A4greed. Whilst Ingeus are no angels and there is lots to criticise they are miles better than A4greed where a personality cult seems to have ruled and the atmosphere has been one of Enemma worship, intimidation and target driven sales.
    The real fault lies with the workfare philosophy without which organisations like these would not exist.
    A new site (well new ro me) is worth a visit:
    http://www.spanglefish.com/onlineprotestagainstworkfare/index.asp

    Gissajob

    March 11, 2012 at 11:27 am


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