A4e given ‘clear’ audit but loses deal

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SHEFFIELD-based training company A4e has lost one of its Government contracts but officials have cleared the firm of any fraudulent activities.

The Department for Work and Pensions has ended the firm’s Mandatory Work Activity contract, covering projects in the South East of England.

But A4e has received ‘positive findings’ from audits undertaken by the Government into allegations of fraudulent activity.

Officials have confirmed they identified no evidence of fraud, systemic, attempted or otherwise in relation to any audit completed of the contracts held with A4e. 

Andrew Dutton, group chief executive at A4e, said: “These findings demonstrate what I have always maintained to be true – that there is no place for fraud at A4e and make it clear that A4e has strong controls around its flagship contract the Work Programme.

“Our immediate task is to further enhance our controls to cement our position as a trusted provider of front line public services.”

“The findings also vindicate the hard work our 3,500 staff do - day in, day out. All over the country we’re helping tens of thousands of people into training and work, knowing we have in place robust levels of quality and assurance.

“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.”

The firm is the subject of a police investigation into allegations of fraud relating to government schemes.

An eighth person was arrested on Monday while seven others are on bail.

A4e’s Sheffield founder, Emma Harrison, who lives in Derbyshire, has stepped down over the controversy.