A4e chairman promises to "restore reputation"

A FORMER senior civil servant has been appointed the new chairman of A4e as the company faces a wide-ranging review of its Government contracts.

Sir Robin Young, a longtime A4e board member, will fill the role following the departure of founder Emma Harrison in the wake of the arrests of four company employees on allegations of fraud which, in turn, triggered intense scrutiny of the company.

His appointment coincided with a fresh allegation of fraud which has led the Department for Work and Pensions to launch an “independent audit of all our commercial relationships with A4e”.

A4e earns a significant share of its revenue from Government contracts to help unemployed people access training and get back into work.

In a statement about the DWP review, A4e said: “The board has made consistently clear in all previous statements that we take any allegations of fraudulent or otherwise illegal activity extremely seriously.

“There is absolutely no place for this type of misconduct at A4e. We obviously acknowledge the concerns raised by DWP, and we welcome and will cooperate fully with their planned investigations.”

The DWP said its audit followed a new allegation of attempted fraud connected to an A4e contract, adding that it would terminate its relationship with the firm if the audit found evidence of “systemic fraud”.

Sir Robin Young has been on the A4e board for five years having been the top civil servant at both the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the former Department for Trade and Industry.

He said: “The current investigations provide us with the opportunity to address the allegations we face head on. My task is to do whatever it takes to restore our reputation.

“Most importantly of all, A4e is about maintaining the very highest standards of service to our customers, and this is where must retain our focus. I believe that we have operated to the high standards expected of us, but if there is real evidence that we have fallen short, the board and I will take all necessary action.”