Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Sheffield computer firm Techdept helps A4e internet censorship

with 5 comments

Amateur (semi-professional) computer service company Techdept based in Sheffield has been busted by journalist Ian Silvera.

Back in 2009, someone was helping A4e and Emma Harrison CBE, cover up sites like Wikipedia from revealing the truth. It has been revealed that it was Techdept working for client A4e Ltd. A journalist traced the IP address… meaning they must have edited the wikipedia pages without registering… “school boy error”

The IP address used to change wikipedia pages was traced back to Techdept in Sheffield, confirmed by “technical director” Richard Grundy. Should we give them a lecture about IP addresses? They could have used a proxy or spent 1 minute registering a fake identity account on there to post from. No can do, I personally see this as a bad advert for this computer company who had come undone to complete stupidity in the heat of the moment.

The good news is when they hit the wall and lose their jobs, there is always A4e…. HAHA!

We do not know how when this stopped and whether PR firm PHA Media has since stepped in to censor the internet.

The Guardian seems to think they A4e and Emma Harrison needs a friend

Stranger and stranger grows the saga surrounding welfare-to-work specialists A4e, the company owned by the prime minister’s one-time adviser Emma Harrison. It has employees suspected of fraud, and Harrison is the recipient of a tide of bad publicity. She needs friends. One guy comes to mind. We’d love to know who he is. What we do know is that someone was engaged in helpful tinkering with A4e’s page on Wikipedia. In 2009, when unhelpful stories about A4e began appearing in the press and on Channel 4, whoever it was took to correcting and amending that page – and also making minor alterations to Harrison’s Wiki entry, the page for The Secret Millionaire (the series featured Harrison) and that concerning Thornbridge Hall, her home. All low key, but not enough, perhaps. Journalist Ian Silvera traced the IP location to a computer services company called Techdept in Sheffield. Among Techdept’s clients – A4e. Then things got strange. Yes that is our IP address, said technical director Richard Grundy, but “we have found no record of A4e instructing the changes made by our employee to the Wikipedia page in emails or task records. For which reason I have to assume it was his own decision to make the changes.” A mystery altruist then. Boy does she need him now.

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Written by Universal Jobmatch

March 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm

5 Responses

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  1. […] Read Full Story – Ipswich Unemployed Action […]

  2. Apart from anything else, what a bunch of chancers.

    Did they really think that tampering with Wikipedia would go unnoticed?

    I am waiting for the 5 am police raids and Emma being carted off.

    To be accountable, like another of Cameron’s mates, Rebekah, before a full public inquiry.

    Andrew Coates

    March 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm

  3. A view from an ex-employee

    This testimony is by someone who used to work for one of the private companies which place people into workfare. The person didn’t want the company to be named since “this should not be a campaign against specific organisations, the whole thing is rotten and needs to be understood.” It provides an interesting insight into the attitudes and practices that are rife in the target-driven environments of these private companies.

    As an ex-employee of a company that was delivering the government’s Flexible New Deal in 2010, I can verify that many questionable policies and procedures were taking place at the time I was working there.

    The Flexible New Deal was the government strategy of forcing the long term unemployed (18 month+) back to work. An unenviable task, and the DWP contracts out the service to companies that out-bid each other to cut costs and corners wherever they can.

    A worthy idea in many ways, it is good to have a specialised service whose aim is to encourage, coax and incentive the long term unemployed back into the job market by training, re-skilling and confidence building for those who may have lost their way.

    After a little while there however, I became increasingly uncomfortable with many of the practices that were endemic in the culture of the organisation.

    Foremost was the practice of ‘trial periods’. I know numerous customers who having applied for jobs they saw advertised at our centre, were told they were obliged to take part in the trial period, which went on for up to 4 weeks, only to be told at the end of it they were not suitable, with little explanation given. If they objected to this sort of treatment, the obvious response to this, we were told by our managers, was to wave the threat of docking their benefits.

    You have to understand, that this was basically a sales environment. Everything is target based, and naturally if targets were not met, this was not good for our company retaining the contract, nor good for our jobs.

    This meant the phone canvassing team was measured on the performance of how many leads or how many jobs they brought in, simply overlooking any measure of integrity from many of the companies we were asked to refer customers to jobs with. There were numerous occasions where profuse apologies were made, after sending clients to a company that was running an illegal car clamping operation, or other similarly disastrous events.

    Furthermore, we were told to assure clients that that we were able to reimburse travel fares for journies between home and our centre (many people were obligated to be there for 3 days a week) and for travel to job interviews. As well as subsidising the travels fares of people before they had received their first paycheck or those on ‘trial periods’. However, whenever miraculously the petty cash did appear perhaps about once a week, there was never enough to ensure all were renumerated what they had been promised.

    Many people were left in difficult circmstances, such as having to choose between attending their mandatory job session that week, or paying their electricity. Despite this repetitive lack of refunds, we were actively encouraged by managers to promise clients their travel would be covered, when it was becoming evidently clear that the amount it cost the company wasn’t being tolerated.

    On top of this, there developed a prejudiced two tier system insofar as how different customers were treated. Not explicit but nonetheless inherent in the service. For instance, their was a large minority of people, who had reached our service after being made redundant at the beginning of the economic crash, generally from well paid or high flying jobs in the city.

    The service as a whole, reacted to this with discrimination and confusion, blinded by the articulate and well presented city type who were classed by us as “work ready”. We went to great lengths to ensure that this ‘special class’ of people did not have to endure the punitive measures that were set out for the rest of the cohort if they failed any of their job seeking obligations. Many of this ‘special class’ often refused to consider opportunities of less than £50k or more, and this was routinely tolerated. Other jobseekers in exactly the same position save for the fact they were used to minimum wage and perhaps less interpersonal vigour, were relegated to the cattle class and rigorously pursued, and then penalised if they were not shown to be taking opportunities presented to them.

    Thankfully, I did not last long in this company.

    I found this whole episode incredibly depressing, having worked in the public sector most of my life, I was used to high professional standards and assisting people to make genuinely permanant, positive changes to their life. This ‘revolving door’ approach to dealing with unemployment does nobody any favours. It does little to equip people with the employability skills and confidence they need, and as we have seen leads to the exploitation of people, many of whom are vulnerable or have learning disabilities.

    With the jobcentre becoming an incredibly Orwellian misnomer, having more to do with bureacracy than finding people jobs, the UK needs to seriously invest in an employment service that meets people’s needs, rather than treating them like cattle to be herded into minimum wage jobs. With this investment there would be more availability of opportunities, and more social manoeuvrability for people at the bottom of the ladder. This type of service as I’ve described does nothing to dig up the roots of long term unemployment and is a mere sticking plaster to the inequality and social decay that is occurring as a result of economic policies that stretch back way past the last Labour government.

    Article here .

    Boycott Workfare

    March 15, 2012 at 4:53 pm

  4. A view from an ex-employee

    This testimony is by someone who used to work for one of the private companies which place people into workfare. The person didn’t want the company to be named since “this should not be a campaign against specific organisations, the whole thing is rotten and needs to be understood.” It provides an interesting insight into the attitudes and practices that are rife in the target-driven environments of these private companies.

    As an ex-employee of a company that was delivering the government’s Flexible New Deal in 2010, I can verify that many questionable policies and procedures were taking place at the time I was working there.

    The Flexible New Deal was the government strategy of forcing the long term unemployed (18 month+) back to work. An unenviable task, and the DWP contracts out the service to companies that out-bid each other to cut costs and corners wherever they can.

    A worthy idea in many ways, it is good to have a specialised service whose aim is to encourage, coax and incentive the long term unemployed back into the job market by training, re-skilling and confidence building for those who may have lost their way.

    After a little while there however, I became increasingly uncomfortable with many of the practices that were endemic in the culture of the organisation.

    Foremost was the practice of ‘trial periods’. I know numerous customers who having applied for jobs they saw advertised at our centre, were told they were obliged to take part in the trial period, which went on for up to 4 weeks, only to be told at the end of it they were not suitable, with little explanation given. If they objected to this sort of treatment, the obvious response to this, we were told by our managers, was to wave the threat of docking their benefits.

    You have to understand, that this was basically a sales environment. Everything is target based, and naturally if targets were not met, this was not good for our company retaining the contract, nor good for our jobs.

    This meant the phone canvassing team was measured on the performance of how many leads or how many jobs they brought in, simply overlooking any measure of integrity from many of the companies we were asked to refer customers to jobs with. There were numerous occasions where profuse apologies were made, after sending clients to a company that was running an illegal car clamping operation, or other similarly disastrous events.

    Furthermore, we were told to assure clients that that we were able to reimburse travel fares for journeys between home and our centre (many people were obligated to be there for 3 days a week) and for travel to job interviews. As well as subsidising the travels fares of people before they had received their first pay check or those on ‘trial periods’. However, whenever miraculously the petty cash did appear perhaps about once a week, there was never enough to ensure all were remunerated what they had been promised.

    Many people were left in difficult circumstances, such as having to choose between attending their mandatory job session that week, or paying their electricity. Despite this repetitive lack of refunds, we were actively encouraged by managers to promise clients their travel would be covered, when it was becoming evidently clear that the amount it cost the company wasn’t being tolerated.

    On top of this, there developed a prejudiced two tier system insofar as how different customers were treated. Not explicit but nonetheless inherent in the service. For instance, their was a large minority of people, who had reached our service after being made redundant at the beginning of the economic crash, generally from well paid or high flying jobs in the city.

    The service as a whole, reacted to this with discrimination and confusion, blinded by the articulate and well presented city type who were classed by us as “work ready”. We went to great lengths to ensure that this ‘special class’ of people did not have to endure the punitive measures that were set out for the rest of the cohort if they failed any of their job seeking obligations. Many of this ‘special class’ often refused to consider opportunities of less than £50k or more, and this was routinely tolerated. Other job seekers in exactly the same position save for the fact they were used to minimum wage and perhaps less interpersonal vigour, were relegated to the cattle class and rigorously pursued, and then penalised if they were not shown to be taking opportunities presented to them.

    Thankfully, I did not last long in this company.

    I found this whole episode incredibly depressing, having worked in the public sector most of my life, I was used to high professional standards and assisting people to make genuinely permanent, positive changes to their life. This ‘revolving door’ approach to dealing with unemployment does nobody any favours. It does little to equip people with the employability skills and confidence they need, and as we have seen leads to the exploitation of people, many of whom are vulnerable or have learning disabilities.

    With the jobcentre becoming an incredibly Orwellian misnomer, having more to do with bureaucracy than finding people jobs, the UK needs to seriously invest in an employment service that meets people’s needs, rather than treating them like cattle to be herded into minimum wage jobs. With this investment there would be more availability of opportunities, and more social manoeuvrability for people at the bottom of the ladder. This type of service as I’ve described does nothing to dig up the roots of long term unemployment and is a mere sticking plaster to the inequality and social decay that is occurring as a result of economic policies that stretch back way past the last Labour government.

    Article here .

    Boycott Workfare

    March 15, 2012 at 5:01 pm

  5. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always

    – Mark 14:7

    The Holy Bible

    March 15, 2012 at 11:05 pm


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