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A4e - SFA Assured

In a statement issued today, following the earlier announcement by Chris Grayling, the Skills Funding Agency has confirmed that they have:

"completed the additional audit work of A4e contracts that was announced on 9 March. This extra verification of A4e's contracts was instigated in response to allegations of fraud relating to A4e's work with another Government department. The Agency can confirm that no evidence of fraud has been identified through this work.

"The Agency now has adequate assurance on current and potential future contracts with A4e. As with all of our suppliers, we will be vigilant and use all of our oversight and audit processes to maintain assurance that public funds and learners’ interests are safeguarded."

As would be expected, A4e have come out fighting havin been vindicated by their main funders.  Andrew Dutton, Group CEO said in a statement on the A4e website:

“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.”

While disgruntled ex-clients and staff will no doubt still be gunning for A4e and ensuring the spotlight continues to shine in their direction, today is hopefully the first step in closing the door on this unhelpful and distasteful saga.  As Andrew says, no other provider has been held up to the scrutiny that A4e have, and based on the silence from the industry we are sure that some wouldn't be that confident if they suffered the same fate.  With an organisation of A4e's scale there will always be local variations in standards of service delivery, compliance with systems and procedures and the experience of customers and partners.  But one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch, so maybe today should be used as a wake up call for the industry and DWP, and not just A4e.

And remember .... W2W Solutions are quality assurance specialists, so if you want a critical friend, someone independent to validate your own quality assurance, to audit your delivery, to review your own management systems (ISO9001 qualified), then do get in touch!

15 May 2012 

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