Ministers urged to bar A4e from Whitehall deal due to fraud investigation

Bid to bar fraud probe firm from Whitehall deal

04 April 2012

Ministers were today urged not to award back-to-work firm A4e a contract with the Home Office while it remains under investigation for fraud.

The beleaguered company is said to be the first choice to run a helpline advising people on discrimination issues.

That is despite an audit of its welfare-to-work contracts with the Department for Work and Pensions and a separate police probe into previous allegations of fraud around a deal put in place by the last government.

Emma Harrison quit as No 10’s “back to work czar” and A4e chairman in February after a damaging series of allegations, although she is not personally involved in the inquiry.

The firm is reportedly the Home Office’s first choice as preferred bidder to run the Equalities and Human Rights Commission helpline. Public Accounts Committee chairman Margaret Hodge said: “This belies common sense.”

In a statement A4e said: “We have not been informed that we are a preferred bidder for any Home Office contracts.”

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