Private Eye on Allegations of Fraud at Seetec

I found this article in Private Eye’s edition for 30th May – 12th June last year (2014). It’s about fraud committed by yet another welfare-to-work company, Seetec.


Seetec no evil …

Urgent questions are being asked at the Department for Work and Pensions over a failure to investigate properly allegations of fraud by Seetec, which has various DWP contracts to help jobless people find work.

Officials assured two whistleblowers last autumn that the department would investigate claims that Seetec had been artificially inflating the number of jobs it was finding for its disabled clients through the Work Choice Scheme – and pocketing the profits.

The two former Seetec employees claim that the company would offer Work Choice clients as “free” labour to charities and other host organisations. Seetec would then pay their wages for the next six months, while telling the DWP that the salaries were being paid by the host organisations. They alleged that Seetec profited from the scam because the amount it received from the DWP – thousands of pounds for every client who “completed” six months’ work – was far more than it paid the clients. (Seetec only had to pay for 20 hours a week at minimum wage to secure payment from the government for a successful outcome).

Three organisations the whistleblowers said were unwittingly used by Seetec in the scam have confirmed that they accepted disabled job-seekers as “volunteers”, even though it was made clear that there would be no jobs available at the end of the six months.

The DWP now says it has completed its “investigation” into the claims and that Seetec – which as the last Eye reported is the worst-performing of the eight Work Choice contractors – has been exonerated of any wrongdoing. However, neither of the two whistleblowers was interviewed by DWP investigators, even though they offered to give evidence.

Asked how it could give Seetec a clean bill of health without gathering evidence, a DWP spokesman claimed there was no reason to interview the whistleblowers because they had supplied all the necessary information in emails. In fact they had provided no detail at all. The email sent by one of the whistleblowers to the DWP last year (and passed to the Eye) includes only a 100-word summary of the allegations – just four sentences.

“As I understand it, the information they provided was investigated,” said the DWP spokesman. The investigators found there was “not fraud” he said, he said. Seetec itself declined to comment. But Margaret Hodge, the no-nonsense chair of the Commons public accounts committee, is now demanding answers from the DWP’s permanent secretary, Robert Devereux. Watch this space.

If Seetec were committing fraud, they were hardly the only company. I’ve reblogged several pieces from Private Eye reporting cases of fraud by the welfare-to-work industry, including an examination of the conditions of their contracts, which concluded that they could only succeed through bail-outs.

The loan by company of claimants to charities as unpaid ‘volunteers’ also confirms the view of this blog and others, especially Johnny Void, that these schemes only exist to provide cheap labour to industry and depress real wages. And as Johnny Void has also pointed out, you are far more likely to get a job on your own than through the welfare-to-work companies.

This whole industry needs to be stopped. Now.

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5 Responses to “Private Eye on Allegations of Fraud at Seetec”

  1. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. Jeffery Davies Says:

    How can these companies b called charitys when they deal in
    slaves but they fraudulently claim vast amount from the tax
    payers in the usa but strangley they dont know this nah they taking backhanders and jobs from these companies it isnt or
    never was about saving tax payers monies it was about how
    they could get their grubby greedie hands on it jeff3

  3. A6er Says:

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  4. The Threat from Jobspath – Campaign for C.E. Reform Says:

    […] Seetec, which was investigated for serious corruption in the UK some years back (see here) and (here) .  These companies represent a privatisation of part of the Irish welfare state.  Their role […]

  5. Job Schemes – A Background Check | Says:

    […] concerning allegations of fraud, as relayed in an article in the weblog Beastrabban, referencing an article in Private Eye 30th May – 12th June 2014 […]

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