Following the announcement by the Crown Prosecution Service today (Dec 3) that charges are being brought against a further four people in the Thames Valley, in addition to nine people who have already been charged, A4e Chief Executive Andrew Dutton said:
“The most recent charges all relate to an on-going investigation by the Thames Valley Police into a small group of employees and an historic contract which ended in July 2011.
The alleged incident was first uncovered by our own internal controls and we referred the allegations to our funder, the Department for Work and Pensions, which then referred them to the police. Throughout the investigation, we have fully co-operated with the police.
Audits by the DWP and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) last year confirmed they found no evidence of fraud, systemic, attempted or otherwise in relation to any audit completed of the contracts they currently hold with us.
My priority, over the past three years, has been to review all our contracts and to ensure that our internal systems are effective and manage risk to Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) expenditure and data. As part of this, we appointed independent auditors White & Case in February 2012, and we have now implemented 100% of the recommendations they made.
I am confident that the work we have done and the improvements we’ve made mean that our funders, the taxpayer and our customers can have full confidence in our delivery of public services.
There is such a lot that we have achieved at A4e in the past two decades and so I will feel exceptionally disappointed if it turns out that a few people have let down the many staff at A4e who, day in, day out put their heart and soul into helping people on our programmes.
Through them, we have improved the lives of tens of thousands of vulnerable and disadvantaged people who looked to us for support and I could not be more proud of them.
We are unable to comment further on the allegations until the legal case has been completed.”