MPs on the public accounts committee raised a number of concerns about the government’​s decision to award A4e five contracts to deliver its Work Programme despite A4e’​s “​abysmal”​ record on the former Pathways to Work programme.

In a report on the public accounts committee’​s session on the Work Programme last week, the Guardian highlights a number of criticisms about the government’​s decision to offer contracts to A4e and looks at questions put by the committee to both Andrew Dutton, Chief Executive of A4e and to Robert Devereux, permanent secretary for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

In response to questions from Margaret Hodge MP and Richard Bacon MP about A4e’​s past poor performance and the government’​s decision to award the company further contracts, Robert Devereux confirmed that past performance could not be taken into account when deciding who to award contracts to for the Work Programme. Despite being expected to attain employment for 30% of its clients, A4e only achieved a 9% success rate under the Pathways to Work programme.

Responding to questions about where the money paid to A4e goes, it transpired that all of the company’​s UK turnover last year came from government contracts and is estimated to be between £​160m and £​180m. Mr Dutton affirmed that of the £​11m paid in dividends to the company’​s shareholders, 87% went to Emma Harrison, chairman of A4e.

MPs raised other concerns and questions about “​creaming and parking”​ and “​job substitut​ion”​.

The Guardian’​s full report can be found here


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