Fraud rife at DWP contractors A4e and Working Links, whistleblowing auditor tells PAC

Fraud is widespread at government contractors A4e and Working Links, their former head of audit, Eddie Hutchinson, has said.

By Civil Service World

30 May 2012

Hutchinson made the claim while giving evidence to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on 22 May. He said that while working for both organisations he found there to be a “lack of effective corporate governance and risk management, poor transparency, weak management, inadequate control systems, and a prevailing environment or culture that allowed fraud and unethical practices to be committed in many geographical locations.” He was employed at Working Links between 2007 and 2010, and at A4e from 2010 to 2011.

His evidence, along with that of two other whistleblowers, was presented in private, but subsequently leaked to the Daily Telegraph, which published Hutchinson’s in full. PAC is now considering whether to release all three statements.

Both Working Links and A4e deny the claims, while a Department for Work and Pensions spokesperon expressed disappointment that the evidence had been leaked.

On the same day, DWP permanent secretary Robert Devereux was also called before PAC. He said he is looking again at a 2009 A4e report into its internal fraud.

“The report says they believe there could be fraud in nine cases. A4e did further investigation to conclude only three of them were fraudulent,” he said. “I am now reviewing every single one of those nine cases, and five other cases.”

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