Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

A4E Fraud: Questions Left Unanswered.

with 24 comments

Welfare-to-work fraud detection inadequate, say MPs (From the BBC today)

Margaret Hodge: ‘You don’t pay a company if they have not done the work

The government failed to be rigorous enough in detecting fraud among its welfare-to-work providers, a committee of MPs has said.

The public accounts committee said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had missed “vital evidence” of possible fraud, particularly at the firm A4e.

Committee chair Margaret Hodge said the DWP had “not been proactive in setting in place systems which root out fraud”.

A4e said a recent audit of the firm had found no evidence of fraud.

MPs accepted that financial checks on welfare-to-work schemes had been improved under the current government.

‘So weak’

But Labour MP Ms Hodge said that “risks remain, especially to value for taxpayers’ money”, with the Work Programme, which launched in 2011.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

The department failed, for example, to obtain from A4e damning internal audit reports produced in 2009 which pointed to instances of potential fraud and malpractice across the country.”

End Quote Margaret Hodge Labour MP and public accounts committee chair

She explained: “The design of the programme still allows for the possibility of providers being paid for finding work for people who found the jobs on their own.”

She told the BBC’s Daily Politics that her “real concern” was whether A4e was a “fit and proper company” for the DWP to do business with.

According to the report, the DWP spends about £900m each year on programmes designed to help unemployed people find, and keep, jobs, with both private companies and charities securing contracts.

But A4e – the government’s largest provider – is currently the subject of a police investigation into allegations of fraud relating to its multi-million-pound welfare-to-work activities.

In February, entrepreneur Emma Harrison stepped down as the head of A4e and quit her role as the government’s “family champion”.

The DWP launched its own investigation in March, following a new allegation of attempted fraud in connection with A4e’s provision of services for the government’s Mandatory Work Activity scheme.

Ms Hodge said: “Where the government chooses to use private companies to deliver public services it is essential that proper arrangements are in place to prevent and detect fraud and malpractice.

“In this instance, the DWP’s arrangements for overseeing and inspecting its contractors were so weak that vital evidence on potential fraud and improper practice was not picked up.

“The department failed, for example, to obtain from A4e damning internal audit reports produced in 2009 which pointed to instances of potential fraud and malpractice across the country.”

More:

There is “still a cloud” hanging over the firm A4e that had a government contract to help people into work, said the chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee.

Her committee has criticised the government’s ability to detect fraud among welfare to work providers, and said arrangements for inspecting contractors were so weak that evidence of potential fraud was not picked up.

Labour MP Margaret Hodge told Carole Walker: “You don’t pay a company if they have not done the work.”

The UK Press Association adds:

n the case of A4e, the committee said that the DWP failed to obtain internal audit reports from 2009 which referred to a “considerable number” of cases of alleged fraud and malpractice.

In February, A4e founder Emma Harrison – who was appointed by David Cameron as the Government’s “family champion” – announced she was quitting the firm amid claims of widespread problems in the organisation.

Although the DWP launched an inquiry into controls at A4e – resulting in one contract being cancelled – the committee said it had not addressed the wider issue of whether it was a “fit and proper” company to carry out such work.

“The department’s arrangements for overseeing and managing its contractors did not pick up vital evidence about potential frauds,” it said. “The investigations of alleged fraud that the department has carried out have not been sufficiently thorough.”

The Independent publishes this:

My name is Eddie Hutchinson and I was employed by two companies, Working Links from 2007-10, and A4e from 2010-11. Within each company there were occasions on which I encountered unethical behaviour or wrongdoing that fell way below standards that should be expected of organisations funded by significant sums from the public purse.

I was appointed head of audit of A4e in October 2010. It quickly became evident that the incidence of frauds and irregularities was a major problem for the company. An ever-increasing volume of frauds came to my attention.

The type of frauds perpetrated by operational staff at A4e usually related specifically to the falsification of job outcome evidence on a number of legacy welfare-to-work contracts.

Such contracts from memory attracted a payment of around £1,300 for A4e for each jobseeker placed into work and this was followed by a payment of £3,000 to A4e once this placement became a sustained job.

The fraud carried out was usually that job outcome evidence required to be completed under the contract would be fabricated by the falsification of employers’ signatures by some A4e staff involved, which meant that erroneous jobs were recorded and targets for job outcomes apparently met.

This whistleblower’s account was submitted as evidence to the select committee, and subsequently leaked.

What is not answered:

  • Is there evidence of these practices in other welfare-to-work companies?
  • What are the profits A4E made out of its fraudulent activity?
  • What is the potential – in principle massive – for fraud in Workfare schemes, above all the one due to be introduced in the work-for-benefits ‘Community Action Programme?
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Written by Andrew Coates

September 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

24 Responses

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  1. Its quite clear to me The Department of Work and Pensions and Job Centre Plus are engaged in a major cover up of Fraud at A4E offices throughout the Country and the Reading office of A4E in particular, when i rang the Reading office of Job Centre Plus who over see all contracted training providers in South East England and pointed out to them there was a team of 14 Police officers assigned to investigate the prolonged and systematic at The Reading office of A4E from the Economic crime unit based at Loddon Valley Police station Reading they thanked me for bringing it to their attention as Job Centre Plus Headquarters had failed to do so. What a disgusting shambles. Mr David Anthony Penson 07949 353631

    Mr DAVID ANTHONY PENSON

    September 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm

  2. And still no one is addressing the REAL issue at stake here – that the Work Programme is nothing but a pointless and sadistic waste of time and money, whoever administers it. Just like the old New Deal, Employment Zones and Flexible New Deal that came before it were, and quite possibly as many schemes before that that I personally am fortunate enough to have had no experience of. Hassling people for being unemployed has never created jobs and never will.

    Dan

    September 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm

  3. @Dan,Agreed,ask any WP provider “What do you provide” and they trot out the Black Box Delivery Method.what does this consist of? Training?..NO…We will mentor you back in to work,Bullshit

    jray

    September 29, 2012 at 4:18 am

  4. Dan, you are totally right. I lost sight of the wood for the trees.

    Andrew Coates

    September 29, 2012 at 9:40 am

  5. Why aren’t all of the other Work Programme Providers such as Ingeus, Interserve, Seetec etc being investigated to see if they are defreuding taxpayers money, I suspect they are all at it -(BIGTIME)

    Hold them all to account, and why doesn’t the DWP want to know? – this is an extremley important question that IDS just keeps on dodgeing, WHY? whats he trying to hide?

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    September 29, 2012 at 10:40 am

  6. What is needed here is someone who works at the DWP to be a whistleblower, someone who has the inside track of all the intracasises of dealing with the Work Programme and Private Providers.

    If there is such a person with the balls to do this, send all of the information to all the fleet street newspapers and all the TV news networks in the UK.

    I suspect Iain Duncan Smith would be arrested if all this came to light.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    September 29, 2012 at 11:00 am

  7. And it would send a serious message to any future governments not to Private Providers in charge of the unemployed ever again.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    September 29, 2012 at 11:10 am

  8. When the DWP said that the WP stats would be published “in the Autumn” did anybody think to ask “the Autumn of which year?”

    Gissajob

    September 29, 2012 at 11:43 am

  9. For those of us who enjoyed his contributions to the struggle against workfare and everything else this government has in mind for the workless, it seems Johnny Void’s blog is no more. I can’t help but point the finger at someone in Gubmint, such as the DWP, or one of the pimps who work for them.

    But whatever the reason his absence from blogging will leave a big hole, and one wonders who’ll be targeted next.

    Let’s hope Mr. Void is back blogging again soon…

    scarecrow78

    September 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    • Time to dump this WordPress shit, eh Mr Coates, before it is too late!! Maybe host your site on a server in the “Free World”, because you sure as aint got any right to Free Speech in this f*ucking C*UNTry

      JVoid

      September 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      • Johnny, I thought that your blog on “Universal Credit” (debt) was brilliant. Someone somwhere does not like the truth. I think it is probably the reason you have been taken down. I really hope that you can get your site back up again somehow. I for one will miss you. Good luck for the future.

        Stan

        September 29, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      • I agree with Stan,hope you can get your blog up again soon.The scum up top are just trying to punisi you for telling the truth.

        ck

        September 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    • He’s still on twitter.
      twitter.com/johnnyvoid

      Charlie D

      September 29, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      • More likely been seen to a f*ucking DWP/ProviderATOS gulag.

        Stalin

        September 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm

  10. ck :
    I agree with Stan,hope you can get your blog up again soon.The scum up top are just trying to punisi you for telling the truth.

    Puniisi,I meant punish,I ,lol

    ck

    September 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm

  11. I’ll tell you someting about this and other blogs, regarding the subject of this blog.

    It’s a free forum on which anyone can contribute, regarding their experiences of the idiotic and universally badly thought out Work Programme.

    Iain Duncan Smith is in my view just trying to keep his lackey’s, happy – they are the bankers in the city of London, who own all of the Private Providers, they put the minimal amount of money in the to set the Private Providers up in the first place. This is how things work, pay the millionare bankers even more on their investment and fuck everyone else, inc the unemployed and anyone on benefits, that’s Iain Duncan Smith for you.

    That’s Iain Duncan Smith for you !!!

    Now they are reaping, between them £5 billon at the tax payers expense, and the best bit is the tax payers haven’t got a clue their been for this disgusting figure, all thaks to Mr Iain Duncan Smith MP.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    September 29, 2012 at 4:09 pm

  12. I bring good newa – Johnny Void’s blog is back in business. So the Gubmint ahven’t got round to silencing all dissenting voices. Yet. Good news all round I think!

    scarecrow78

    September 29, 2012 at 5:00 pm

  13. This is a bad company with bad practices,it uses third parties under its umbrella to shove the hardest to help. it has no standards or moral integrity,openly and blatantly doing so such filling in forms that are supposed to be filled in and signed by professional people instead being filled in and signed by employees that have no authority to do so.

    It comes as no surprise that this company and its activities are continuing to circulate in the media,its disgusting that this is allowed to continue with such behavior with people who are acting out of control.its a ticking timebomb that will go down as a controversial exercise surrounded in deep mistrust,sharp practice and mysterious unanswered behavior.

    ken

    September 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    • Hello. With all respect to you Mr. Coates. You people need to wake up. You need to read Johnny Voids Blog on ” Universal Credit”. If you think it is bad now, it is going to get a Hell of a lot worse for EVERYBODY. I have tried to put the link up three separate times and it has gone into the electrical ether. I am a mite peed of. Read it. GET F”CK!NG REAL..

      Stan

      September 30, 2012 at 12:04 am

      • Should read “off”.

        Stan

        September 30, 2012 at 12:08 am

  14. Hi, I’m a wisleblower who knows everything about the this illegal company by them trying to brainwash disablities,down sydrome,people born with Asperger’s a condition which no cure for,but in early 2010 in Pontypool at A4E staff advice me to see thier pschologist which was a waste of time where I spoke to Claire Fenny who work for the NHS and not for A4E which is ripping off the public sector which is costing £45.6billion in goverment contracts in the uk. and Jobcentre plus is A4E owned which no one should sign on thier anymore because the staff are delued by them saying we will get you back to work Scientology Ideaology like hitlers communistic party back in 1944 to 1945 in history.

    Ch

    this a another way of ripping off the public sect

    Bradley

    September 30, 2012 at 2:29 pm

  15. i done a 4 year stint at a4e on nd/fnd when they were here 6 months on job search then back to jcp for another 6 then back to a4e for more job search no help what so ever and a waste of money.

    now on this wp i have to do job search cv help and a nlp course they run there so its the same shit different shovel all over again.

    was mandated to the wp this time last year now and only been 2 times as the first time they lost me for 1 half hrs in the computer room the size of a small bedroom and was closing.

    next time i went was a all out attempt to get as much personnel info as they could n found a titanium wall in front of the as will not sign anything or enter in to a contract with 3rd party n left that was it.

    super ted

    September 30, 2012 at 6:40 pm

  16. the tradition of never ending controversy never ceases with the work programme,especially with those involved.

    Work Programme chief Alan Cave joins contractor Serco

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19931604

    ken

    October 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm

  17. Emma Harrison (A4E) gets ROASTED live on Channel 4 News (24/10/2012) regarding the Work Programme. You can watch her squirm on Channel 4 News catch up or YouTube.

    Nice one Channel 4 News, keep it up.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    October 25, 2012 at 9:30 am


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