From 2014: Private Eye on Fraud by Workfare Companies

WorkFare-not-working

A little while ago I posted a piece about how a group of employees at one of the workfare companies were caught fiddling the figures in order to get taxpayers’ money for people for whom they had not actually found work. According to this article in Private Eye last year for the 24th January – 6th February, they weren’t alone by a long way.

Fraud Popular

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been trying to bury bad news about allegations of fraud on its various welfare-to-work schemes even though some were so serious it referred them to the police for investigation.

According to the department’s
Report on Contracted Employment Provision, which was slipped out on the DWP website nearly a year late, and under cover of darkness, in 2012-13 the government received more allegations of fraud by workfare contractors than in previous years. Though the report named no names, it blamed the “substantial media and parliamentary scrutiny” of bad behaviour by firms like A4E and Working Links on the Work Programme and other job schemes.

The DWP believed there was a “case to answer” in five cases, three of which were referred to police. Prosecutions did not follow because “proceedings were considered by the police to be unlikely to result in a conviction or were not considered to be in the public interest”.

The alleged frauds followed the familiar pattern of false claims for fees and falsified documents about what service had (or had not) been provided; and the contractors were simply allowed to pay back the cash. The DWP said none of the dodgy cases related to the Work Programme, but did not say which employment scheme was involved.

According to the report, DWP inspectors also found scant concern among contractors for properly protecting public money from misuse. Of 49 contractors inspected, 29 had “weak” or “limited” assurance levels for handling government cash. Only 20 offered “reasonable” or “strong” protection.

Not surprisingly, the DWP seemed reluctant to trumpet these findings from the rooftop. Though permanent secretary Robert Devereux promised MPs he would produce the report in December 2012, it was actually slipped out on the DWP website with no press announcement last October.

The Eye submitted a freedom of information act request last July asking where it was. We finally received an answer this January – and an apology “for not responding earlier; no discourtesy was intended”. Of course if a benefits claimant took so long responding to the DWP, an apology might not suffice.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “From 2014: Private Eye on Fraud by Workfare Companies”

  1. A6er Says:

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  2. notesfromthenorth75 Says:

    Reblogged this on Notes from the north.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: