Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Skills Funding Agency supervises A4e audit

with 10 comments

The Skills Funding Agency is to work alongside White & Case LLP, appointed fraud auditors by A4e, over doubts of a cover-up paid “independent” review. What A4e means is an audit conducted externally, but its hardly independent when two major factors come into play:

1) A4e are paying (White & Case is providing a service to A4e); and
2) A4e has control of the documents in the first instance (they can hold back or delay document handover).

It is interesting (despite the positive twist in all the press) how the Skills Funding Agency doesn’t trust A4e (Skills Funding Agency  getting involved isn’t merely to “help” – fraud is a serious crime – its not giving a helping hand to painting a room or a rescue operation) and although the A4e contracts from Skills Funding Agency is very small compared with the DWP contracts, the  Skills Funding Agency is not prepared in any circumstances to let A4e just get on with it alongside a professional firm who happens not to pay corporation tax.

Elsewhere, the DWP seems content in letting A4e get on with it while they tag along with their half-hearted attempt at digging at the surface to look for serious fraud… not going to happen.

An individual would have their house raided, all copies of their emails and text messages obtained and perhaps telephone bugged… DWP and the Police seem happy in just financial records.

Finding systemic fraud

The truth is – and this is a part of a corrupted Government/system – systemic fraud will never be found in financial records… even if 50,000 individual cases of fraud… over 15 years, many different contracts, thousands of staff and hundreds of offices….

What they need is company documents and communication beyond contracts and financial statements… be it company meeting agendas and minutes, all emails between the top staff (those on the board and the managers directly below, and managers for every location) and company policy uptake stats and training details.

This is gold dust when used WITH the evidence of financial fraud:-

  • Shows whether employees are aware of policy and been trained correctly
  • Whether management knew of the issues, allowed it, whether they took issues to the board when got caught out before such as how to stop it happening again,  whether there is evidence of attitudes allowing the illegal activities (such as windowing, buying DIY stamp kits etc.)

It has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt – without knowing the above, its not always so certain whether it is systemic… and how rotten to the core the organisation has to be systemic?

  • All (100%)?
  • Majority (80%)?
  • Half (50%)?
  • Unacceptable (5%)?

i.e.  By employee count, by contract, by management employee,  by location, by contractual body, by contract area

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Written by Universal Jobmatch

March 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm

10 Responses

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  1. I wonder how much high-quality employment skills training £8.6 million would buy.

    Ça ira.

    JBS

    March 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm

  2. Despite fraud… A4e has been awarded £30m of new contracts.

    Work Programme

    March 14, 2012 at 9:45 am

  3. Despite a string of fraud probes A4e gets two new state contracts worth up to £30m

    The embattled firm owned by David Cameron’s former ‘back-to-work’ tsar Emma Harrison has been handed two new state contracts worth up to £30million.

    The Skills Funding Agency quango last night confirmed that A4e has been appointed to run prison education programmes in London and the east of England, even though it is facing a string of fraud accusations.

    The decision came despite an announcement by the Department for Work and Pensions last week that it has launched an inquiry into ten welfare-to-work contracts operated by A4e.

    The DWP warned it would cancel all of its contracts if it uncovered evidence of systemic fraud.

    The firm, owned by Mrs Harrison, the Prime Minister’s former adviser on troubled families, is already facing investigation by the police. The Serious Fraud Office has also faced calls to look into the claims.

    Yesterday’s decision by the SFA, which is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, provoked anger.

    Margaret Hodge, chairman of the powerful Commons public accounts committee, said it was ‘astounding’ that A4e was being handed major contracts when its conduct was being investigated by both the police and Government officials.

    ‘I find it astounding that, at a time when one Government department is investigating a company for systemic failures, another department is awarding the same company new contracts,’ she added. ‘You couldn’t make it up.’

    The new contracts involve providing basic education to prisoners in area such as maths and English, and helping prepare them to find jobs on release. The London contract is worth about £15million.

    The SFA declined to comment on the value of the east of England contract, but it is thought to be worth a similar amount. Other contracts were mostly awarded to further education colleges.

    One rival bidder said: ‘It seems deeply ironic that offenders are to be given lessons in getting back on the straight and narrow by a firm that is being investigated for fraud.’

    A4e’s entire £180million UK turnover comes from state contracts. The firm has faced a storm of criticism since the Mail revealed that Mrs Harrison paid herself an £8.6million dividend last year – despite the firm’s failure to hit Government targets for finding jobs for the unemployed.

    The revelation prompted a string of whistleblowers to come forward with allegations of fraud at the company, which is one of five main contractors on the Government’s £5billion Work Programme. Mrs Harrison resigned from her role advising the Prime Minister and quit her post as A4e’s chairman, although she retains ownership of 85 per cent of the firm’s shares.

    A4e insists it has a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to fraud. The firm has appointed lawyers to carry out an internal audit of its activities to reassure ministers that there is no evidence of systemic fraud.

    Meanwhile, Labour stepped up pressure on the Government over its links to A4e. In a written statement to MPs, the Employment Minister Chris Grayling acknowledged the DWP was aware of fraud allegations at the time that A4e was given hundreds of millions of pounds.

    The claims are the subject of an inquiry by Thames Valley Police.

    Mr Grayling told MPs that officials were made aware of the allegations in February last year, although they did not inform ministers until the autumn. In the intervening months A4e was handed five Work Programme contracts.

    Liam Byrne, Labour’s work and pensions spokesman, said: ‘This is an astounding failure of ministerial oversight. We need an urgent explanation of exactly what reassurances ministers sought before signing off on the A4e deals.’

    The Skills Funding Agency said: ‘The Agency continues to receive assurances from A4e to ensure public funding is used appropriately both for current contracting arrangements or future contracts.’

    Article here .

    Daily Heil

    March 14, 2012 at 10:00 am

    • Judging from Newsnight yesterday the political ‘debate’ on the economy and the welfare state in this country is now dominated by a group of right-wing loonies, including a former Labour MP for Norwich Charles Clarke and one-time student ally of the Communist Party, who now think the best way forward is to contract all public services to these private crooks.

      Andrew Coates

      March 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm

  4. Yes live longer keep healthier work longer pay more tax get ripped off longer sounds good to me what do you all say … I my self would like to live my life how i want to live it , not how someone else wants me to live it because it fits there way of life of how they want you to live it …

    Gill

    March 14, 2012 at 8:48 pm

  5. The embattled firm owned by David Cameron’s former ‘back-to-work’ tsar Emma Harrison has been handed two new state contracts worth up to £30million.

    haha its like a bank manager saying to the robbers you forgot this mate there’s a 30mil here too have it as a bonus for robbing us blind over the years on the way out.

    super ted

    March 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm

  6. well i hope the first person a4e try to help back to work or on a course is Charles Bronson.

    super ted

    March 14, 2012 at 10:25 pm

  7. the guardian ran a story which relates to harrison which is interesting and appears that her attention seeking celebrity status has brought attention onto A4e

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/27/emma-harrison-a4e-big-mistake

    it isnt that surprising that in todays climate of business that the need for profit driven success has its unsavory side,there’s big money to be made and people driven to get it what ever the costs or ethics,the problem here its public money hence the headlines.

    its hard to see this company continuing as it is as well as the fraud together with its partners have a “get away with what they can” policy,this includes bullying and harassment of those sent to this company,its nothing to do with trainers or training just make life a misery and hope that will work,it does not.

    ken

    March 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm

  8. […] The Skills Funding Agency is to work alongside White & Case LLP, appointed fraud auditors by A4e…. What A4e means is an audit conducted externally, but its hardly independent when two major factors come into play: […]


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