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Calls for pause to award under fire A4e more prison education contracts

23 February 2012

UCU today called on the government not to award more contracts for prison education to the beleaguered welfare-to-work company A4e.

Despite being subject to criminal investigations for fraud, there are reports that A4e will be awarded contracts to run prison education. The union said that as well as the serious questions being asked about A4e's activities, there were real concerns that the company's desire to make money, rather than deliver first-rate education, were behind its push to obtain the contracts.

The union cited A4e's actions when they threatened to pull out of contracts in Kent because they were not making money. UCU said there was no place for profit-making organisations in delivering education.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Reports that the under fire welfare-to-work company A4e has been awarded more government contracts to deliver prison education are particularly worrying. Aside from ongoing criminal investigations into the company's activities, there are real concerns about A4e's motives for getting involved in prison education.

'A4e's primary objective is to make money, whereas the further education colleges who deliver the courses are there to deliver quality education and skills. We believe that there is no place for profit-making organisations in delivering education and urge the authorities responsible for awarding the contracts to reconsider their decisions, particularly at a time when A4e is hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons.'

Last updated: 11 December 2015