Money Advice Service defends A4e relationship

The Money Advice Service has defended its relationship with A4e, a contracting company which has hit the headlines after it was revealed the police are investigating fraud allegations at the firm.

A4e delivers the MAS’ face-to-face advice service in England and Northern Ireland but MAS says the arrests and allegations are not in any way related to the service it provides.

A4e founder and chairman Emma Harrison, who received an £8.6m dividend in 2010, was forced to step down from her role as Prime Minister David Cameron’s personal adviser on problem families in the wake of the arrests.

Thames Valley Police is investigating the fraud claims which involve four former A4e employees. The allegations are only in relation to A4e’s welfare-to-work contracts.

In a statement issued earlier this week A4e said that between December 2005 to date, nine cases have been referred to the Department of Work and Pensions to review claim submissions. This includes the latest Thames Valley Police case.

The statement from A4e chief executive Andrew Dutton said: “I cannot emphasise enough that there is no place for fraud at A4e, and that is why we have created rigorous internal processes, cooperate with all external audits, and have brought any known issues to the attention of the authorities.”

The MAS says the investigation has no bearing on its face-to-face advice service.

An MAS spokeswoman says: “Our face-to-face service in England and Northern Ireland is contracted to A4e. This is an important aspect of our service, and we keep a close dialogue with A4e at all times about service delivery.

“We are aware of some matters that have recently been raised in the media. These matters do not relate to or affect any aspects of our service delivery.”