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Government must urgently reconsider A4e's prison education contracts

15 May 2012

Following the news that the government has terminated A4e's Mandatory Work Activity contract after it said there were 'significant weaknesses in A4e's internal controls', UCU today said the company's prison education contracts needed to be urgently looked at.

In March the further education minister stated in a letter to the union that 'should events indicate that A4e is not an appropriate provider, the [Skills Funding] Agency will refrain from contracting with them'.
The union said it failed to see how A4e could be an appropriate provider considering the government's damning comments today and the fact that it is still being investigated for fraud. Ministers added that they thought it was too risky to work with A4e.
A4e remains the government's preferred bidder for multi-million pound prison education contracts in London and the east of England. UCU said the government had to now accept that the whole process was tainted and should urgently initiate a retendering process.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'A4e cannot remain the preferred bidder for multi-million pound prison education contracts following such a damning verdict today from the government. If ministers believe it is too risky to work with A4e then we clearly need a fully transparent retendering process.
'We were clearly told that if A4e was not considered an appropriate provider then the government would stop working with them. Surely the significant weaknesses in A4e's internal controls and the fact that ministers said today they are too risky to work with makes them an inappropriate provider.'
Click here for the letter from John Hayes to UCU. [33kb]

Last updated: 14 March 2019