Emma Harrison gets £1.375m from A4e

Mon, 03/12/2012 - 21:16 -- nick

Emma Harrison, the founder of A4e, received £1.375million from the company last year.

Harrison stood down as chair of the company in February following an outcry over her previous £8.7million dividend payment from the company, but retains 87% of the shares.

The first official release of figures for A4e's performance on the Work Programme last week showed that it found long-term work for less than 3.6% of its clients, well below the 5.5% minimum target. UnemployedNet revealed in a blog how, of the five contracts A4e holds for the Programme, worth £438million in total, four were performing below average and none were meeting minimum targets.

Margaret Hodge, chair of the Commons public accounts committee, called Harrison's payments "outrageous". She added: "Given the appalling results published only last week for the work programme, this looks like an excessive reward for dismal failure. A4e make their living out of public money and they have yet to demonstrate they provide value. The figures make a nonsense out of the assertion from the company that Emma Harrison is no longer involved in A4e."

Having stood down as chair of A4e there will be surprise that Harrison is still being paid as an employee as well as a shareholder.

Her latest payments were disclosed by her husband, Jim, in response to queries. Asked about the dividends, he said: "In 2011 a total dividend of £1.125m was paid from April of that year, which, with the £250,000 from January 2012, makes a total of £1.375m for the financial year '11-'12." He said his wife was an employee of the firm and was paid dividends on her investments.

In addition to its performance issues, A4e has been criticised following a number of fraud investigations. Phillip Revell, a former A4e employee, was convicted last year of forgery offences totalling £3,580. Recorder Simon Bourne-Arton QC said he was one of a number who were suspected of involvement in fraud in the company's Hull office.

The company declined to comment on the issue when asked by The Guardian, pointing out that Harrison now has her own spokesperson and it had not yet filed its accounts for the year.

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