Latest Public Sector News

16.05.12

A4e loses DWP ‘mandatory work’ contract

Employment firm A4e, which has employees at the centre of fraud inquiries, has lost a contract with the Department for Work & Pensions.

The company – whose chair Emma Harrison stepped down earlier this year – lost its contract for organising mandatory work placements in the South East.

The DWP said its investigations found no evidence of fraud but said it was too risky to continue with the contract.

It said some of A4e’s supporting paperwork was “seriously inadequate” and occasionally “erroneous”, but that at the Epsom office, 97% of payments to the company under the mandatory work activity (MWA) programme were correctly billed for and logged, and the other 3% could be blamed on flawed processes, not fraud. A separate police investigation into possible fraud centres on the company’sSloughoffice.

The information came out in a written DWP statement to the House of Commons.

It said: “The process established prior to March fell significantly short of our expectations. As a result, the department has concluded that continuing with this contract presents too great a risk and we have terminated the mandatory work activity contract with A4e for the south-east.”

The DWP said contingency plans were in place to keep placements going.

A4e said in a statement: “A4e today welcomed the positive findings of the audits undertaken by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) into allegations of fraudulent activity. Both confirmed they identified no evidence of fraud, systemic, attempted or otherwise in relation to any audit completed of the contracts they hold with A4e.

“Along with reviews by the Welsh andNorthern Irelandassembly governments, this means that the majority of A4e's business has been fully examined by external auditors – ensuring our customers and government funders can have full confidence in our organisation.”

It said only five staff members were employed on the £1m contract and it made up just 0.5% of the company's total revenues.

The chief executive, Andrew Dutton, said: “As a company, I recognise that we haven't got it right all of the time, but we are committed to taking responsibility for our mistakes and remedying them.

“No other provider has undergone such a thorough and forensic review of its contracts, and the positive outcome speaks for itself – this is huge reassurance for taxpayers and our customers.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

14/11/2019Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

Public Sector Executive’s Matt Roberts explains how living in a modern, interconnected world, as we do, means public sector organisations cannot afford to ignore the rol... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >