Thursday, 5 March 2015


This is the biggest news about A4e ever.  Read the full story here in the Financial Times.

"Emma Harrison, the prime minister’s former “families champion”, has appointed Deloitte to advise on a sale or break-up of the business, which has been struggling since being hit by a series of fraud claims."

Nobody is saying anything else very much, except that Harrison, with an 87% share in the company, is "weighing her options" and that various outfits might be interested in buying.

That's all we know for now, and it's late, so a more considered post tomorrow.


  1. Unfortunately the FT article is inaccessible (at least for me) - behind a paywall.

    1. You can sign up for free access to a limited number of articles. However, there's little more in it than I've said.

  2. It may well be that A4e is a tainted brand and this, together with the facts that :-
    1. its only real assets (other than goodwill) are its government contracts
    2. There is a GE on the horizon and any new government may not featherbed the likes of A4e as much as we have seen up till now may wipe a few millions of Harrison's ill gotten fortune.

    I find the term "goodwill" particularly inapposite in the case of A4e!

  3. Well, well! What a surprise, in a way, but in another way it's no surprise at all.

    I imagine that Mark Lovell probably saw the writing on the wall for A4e, which might be why he left A4e and went off to co-found his own W2W company.

    If I were Jim Harrison, I'd have been nagging Emma non-stop since early 2012, to try to persuade he to dump A4e. If A. Buyer appears and offers money for A4e, Emma owns 87% of its shares. However, in October 2012 she told Channel 4 News on prime-time TV that she was also personally responsible for £50 million of A4e's borrowings (which might be all of its borrowings) such was her faith in the Work Programme scheme.

    Since then, the WP scheme has been well & truly discredited. It doesn't do any more than the old New Deal scheme did after that was privatised, so one wouldn't expect a higher rate of success from it.

  4. In fairness to Deloitte, they are huge and easily professional enough to build imprenetrable, impregnable Chinese Walls between the different parts of Deloitte's activities.

    Were it not for my faith in Deloitte's reputation, I'd be sniggering about the rat in charge of the cheese shop, given that I believe Deloitte retained their own stake in Ingeus Deloitte after Therese Rein sold her own stake in that to an American company.

    What would A4e be worth on a break up? If it is broken up, what about A4e's staff?

    I'm expecting the Guardian and Channel 4 News to get to the bottom of the FT's story about A4e but probably not until sometime next week. Immediate developments are very unlikely, imho.

  5. Not surprised at this news at all. The writing has been on the was for a long time to be honest.

    The situation with Harrison and A4e sorta reminds me somewhat of Gerald Ratner and his jewellery firm bearing his name. In the early 90's, Ratner made a series of jokes at his own company's expense calling the products he sold ''crap''. Ratner's Group jewellers lost £500m and Gerald Ratner was shown the door as chairman. Ratner's Group was sold and renamed Signet

    Now we see A4e's chairwoman effectively dumped and the A4e name will soon be history. Just as with Ratner and his company. Of course, the difference with A4e is that Harrison defended the rouge practices of her firm to the bitter end. And the decisions she made has a much more adverse affect on peoples lives.

    Considering A4e probably has the worst reputation in the W2W sector and is a byword for shoddy practices and poor customer service, I do wonder what value a potential buyer would put on this infamous brand?

    1. See my subsequent post - and they won't keep the brand.

    2. So A4e is effectively dead than. Not surprising the brand has been put to sleep. What is more important of course is the level of service that is provided from the new owners. I very much doubt it'll be an improvement.

      I wonder what is going through the minds of A4e staff right now?

    3. iMatt,probably hoping that if/when they become unemployed that they are not subject to these mind numbing courses that they have been providing.

    4. jray, not wishing to indulge in a spot of Schadenfreude. However....;-))

  6. The perfect storm? Job Services Australia are chasing fraud in their W2W industry,A4E employees will be sentenced this Month,UC in melt down and the GE coming up,many people that I know on MWA/CWP are having to chase travel expenses from A4E and I looked up WP payments to A4E from June 2014,a very confusing payment trend,eventually it will unravel,this blog and many others have known that things have been dodgy for years!

  7. Just curious. If A4e is sold, will you continue with your blog?


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