Here's his view on the contracts announced today for learning and skills for offenders in prison and in the community for scandal ridden company A4e.
However, it appears this is not the case. A4e cannot clearly be trusted to deliver contracts procured by Government, they are paid to deliver a service which they are not providing efficiently, and it looks like most of the tax payer’s money is just getting pocketed by these fat cats such as Emma Harrison, the Chief Executive who recently stepped down as Family Tsar and who helped herself to £11m in bonuses over the last two years. Whilst she enjoys herself on the loot, living lavish, customers on her company's programs are floundering and are feeling the lack of provision and witnessing first hand that A4e actually doesn't provide a service which helps them find employment but just make matters worse for them. People are beginning to “feel let down by the service that is meant to help them”. For example, Ms Verwaerde, 25, from Leicester who said that, she was put up for an interview by A4e, as part of the Coalition's Work Programme. The job was in sales, offering £7,000 a year plus commission. But after A4e told her she had been offered the position, she says she was discouraged from asking for written confirmation of her hours and pay; she was told she could have her benefits sanctioned if she did not accept the position, and was then told by two A4e staff that she could "give it (the job) a go" without having to notify the Jobcentre. Ms Verwaerde, whose ambition is to work in the police service one day, said she feels she has been failed by the very service meant to help her. "It felt like I was being pushed into a corner." If she did not notify the JobCentre, she would be committing a fraud and would have faced sanctions, such as having her Job Seekers' Allowance cut or worse, criminal charges.
What the Government are doing taking on board A4e when they knew serious allegations of systematic fraud existed regarding the company and there have been numerous whisteblowers come forward since the most recent spate of arrests three weeks ago? It’s just as bad as letting an armed robber work as a cashier in your bank is there a clear risk factor there. A4e have no other interest than to make a huge profit and deliver the service however inefficient it may be, however how can we have a company with such problems internally be given contracts to help with the ex-offender community who really need help. An ex offender in work is far less likely to reoffend and gets a strong footing on his desistance journey.
Cost-cutting in the pursuit of profits, attacks on staff pay and conditions, instability and bad management practises, including bullying, have resulted from the process, UCU claimed.
"The people you can easily get into a job, and who can sustain it, could probably have done it themselves," says Maria McNicholl from St Giles Trust. "Who is then helping people like a lot of our core clients? They're just being left as usual; nobody's paying you to help the people who need it most."