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A4e and the future: will it survive?


In this febrile atmosphere we must be cautious and resist the temptation to become embroiled in a partisan political fight. In Richard Johnson’s last article he mentioned the political exigencies as to why performance data on the Work Programme was not been released. Whilst the reasons for not releasing this data appears to be blatantly political it does hide a important truth and a very real fear…

It is the fear of political sabotage…

Any issue related to benefits, employment and the Coalition Government’s Work Programme is inevitably highly political and those on the opposite side of the political spectrum will and are indeed using all the tools at their disposal to attack the measures which are currently been brought in buht also are seeking to attack individuals.

To a large extent, the media infatuation with A4e is part of that agenda. Where there is wrong doing it needs to be addressed, however  the current difficulties at A4e should not be used to make wider political points or to cast aspersions on the whole of the organissation and its staff.

Emma Harrisons’s high profile has brought her much criticism … to a large degree much of this has been borne out of jealously and also because some on the political left ( including the media) are fighting a proxy war and want to get a scalp and are seeking to undermine the coalition government. Sadly, this is not restricted to the coalition but some are seeking to undermine Chris Grayling in a very persoonal way.

The police will do their job as a result of the honesty of senior staff at A4e – who brought this matter to their attention –  other providers should now work together to support A4e and its staff during this difficult time…

Yes….Work together, issue a statement that the whole sector is committted to high standards, that it stands behind and beside A4e and that the sector is committed to full transparency ..


…. let him without sin cast the first stone”
Other organisations are and should be mindful that  “but for the grace of God go [they]”


lets all get our houses in order.. this is a dirty political fight….

Dr Floyd Millen


1 Comment

  1. I was asked to speak in London at one of the many launch conferences along side the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, Minister for Employment, back in Spring 2011 where he was challenged about the government’s seemingly risky strategy of putting such a large egg (The Work Programme) in the hands of a few private sector management companies known as Prime Contractors.

    His response was that “these companies are the experts in designing back to work contracts and all WP contracts will be ‘black box’ as companies know what is needed in each area” He also confirmed that incumbent contractors who currently managed the Flexible New Deal contracts would be in poll position to win the new Work Programme contracts.

    I asked “what would happen if any of these few remaining Prime Contractors was found to be committing fraud after the existing more widespread infrastructure was dismantled?” He was absolute in his response stating that “their contracts(s) would be cancelled”

    I also pointed out that the QMS (Merlin) would not provide any meaningful data until 18 months into the contract and until it did the Government would be ‘flying blind’.

    On the face of it this was just a rehash of Flexible New Deal with a lower cost per head intervention rate. These contracts are now placed in the hands of a few Prime Contractors. Many of these Prime Contractors are offering sub contracts at just 60% of the allowable intervention rate per head, the remaining 40% is retained as Prime Contractor management fees.

    The cost of this rationalisation will be the same as in it’s role model in Australia…the dismantling of infrastructure support and the demise of much of their highly experienced voluntary and community sectors.

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