A4e vs The Internet: Round 2

(click to make bigger)

A letter has come to light in the comments of a piece on the Ipswich Unemployed Action website which seems to suggest that once more A4e are attempting to censor any criticism of them online.

If genuine it isn’t the first time that this company have attempted to bully people with legal threats.  Note that A4e will seek the highest possible financial penalty from the quite likely unemployed recipient.  This shows how A4e really view the unemployed, a source of even more cash for Emma Harrison.

There’s no real reason to dispute the authenticity of the letter, A4e has got form for this after all.  The PR agency who wrote it certainly exist.  But even if it’s a not very elaborate hoax (and well done anyway), it’s as good an excuse as any.  Give the bastards some shit just in case, and if it turns out to be real let’s give them some more.

Emma Harrison’s twitter feed has gone into near meltdown as the deranged woman has taken to posting a stream of links attempting to show that A4e are not just a bunch of money grabbing, exploitative, corporate parasites.

A4e’s website with contact details can be found at: http://www.mya4e.com/

Emma’s long cherished plans of building an online community we could all register and join, appear to have been abandoned as they realised everyone fucking hates them.  They do have a handy freephone number though: 0800 345 666 (yeah really)*.

Disability deniers Atos, who have made millions out of driving sick and disabled benefit claimants to suicide, aren’t allowed on social networking anymore.  They try a bit on twitter (@atos), but apart from some local groups, they don’t get much of a look in on facebook.  Which must be pretty embarrassing for a global IT company.

We should do the same to A4e.  No platform on the internet.  Wherever they crop up be ready to hound them.  They have a facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/A4eofficial

And are on twitter at: @offciala4e, whilst Emma tweets at @emmachat.  You can also find them at google plus and on linkedin.

Some dead old Chinese bloke once said ‘when your enemy’s weak, attack’.  As A4e are currently getting slaughtered in the press, now seems as good a time as any.

*Disclaimer: If you ring them please remember you are probably speaking to a low paid receptionist, and just as importantly that communications can be easily traced.  It is an offence to make malicious or abusive phone calls.  It’s not an offence to waste their time.

*Conspiracy disclaimer:  Just because they’ve got 666 in their phone number does not mean that Emma Harrison is the anti-christ, head of the illuminati, or an alien.  Please calm down and don’t go setting up any silly websites.

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21 responses to “A4e vs The Internet: Round 2

  1. Oh yes the new policing policy of the UK when speaking the truth……….

  2. Its over for A4e. Would you get a plumber to do the electrics?

    Obviously you would contact a solicitor to send threats of legal action. Not a PR firm. Have they broken ties with so many solicitors? Is it the case that no solicitor wants to represent A4e? Can they not really afford multiple legal action?

    Don’t be censored. Its over for A4e. Allow them to threaten legal action… Perhaps we should all upset them with free speech… they cannot sue everyone.

    • I agree, there are already numerous websites debating these issues already so do they actually think they can threaten everyone?

  3. How did they get your details?

  4. Emma can tweet ad nauseum (literally in her case) but she cannot hide the stench of corruption which hopefully will go off in her face,

  5. Emma Harrison is in tears. All shook up. The structure of A4e..

    [A4e Emma Harrison CBE]

    [Company’s separate entity – treated as a person in its own right]
    [Top management/directors/CEO]
    [3500 (or so) staff]

    So basically, it was like she was a Queen situated in a bomb proof highly secure chamber… has over a dozen elite guards around the perimeter and an army of 3500 people to come to her rescue, not to mention her allies … her PR firm and Government ministers.

    How did she get this vulnerable?!

    How did she get to the stage of packing it all in? (the public personality side, of course)

    Guilt is the answer. Otherwise it wouldn’t bother her. She feels like she can no longer stand in public as this “tough love” down-to-earth secret-millionaire listener person. Why not? What has she to hide? Now she is holding on to A4e has tight as possible… if things play out like the moment suggest, she will have to step down from A4e, if its ever to gain new contracts.

    There needs to be action against A4e to increase the pressure. They are also a large poverty pimp dealing in workfare. Even for its own specific profit at its own premises.

  6. We look forward to jail sentences for A4e’s benefit fraudsters.

  7. Now I’m really jealous.
    I’d really like a letter like that. Nice of them really. Shows how much they care.

    http://tompride.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/a4e-claims-success-in-getting-taxpayers-money-off-benefits-into-its-own-pockets/

  8. Well whoever wrote the letter, has terrible grammar.

  9. Yes, mandatory volunteering is conscription. In a civilian workplace that is forced labour.
    I thought forced or compulsory labour is illegal under Section 71 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 in England, and section 47 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010.
    Remember “forced or compulsory labour is defined as:
    “ALL WORK OR SERVICE WHICH IS EXACTED FROM ANY PERSON UNDER THE MENACE OF ANY PENALTY AND FOR WHICH THE SAID PERSON HAS NOT OFFERED HIMSELF VOLUNTARILY”
    It is therefore of paramount importance for all Jobseekers to declare themselves to be non-volunteers – beware if you are asked at any time if you would consider voluntary work.
    That old military adage is right: NEVER VOLUNTEER!

  10. BeastAndSuperbeast

    Re. Emma Harrison: Whey-hey! Now the shit’s really hitting the fan!
    I too have had the unfortunate experience of being despatched to A4e. This was in summer 2009, and the whole thing’s been simmering away in my mind ever since. I’ve at last discovered your website, so I’m really, really pleased to be able to share my experience with you guys.

    Well, I’ve never been on such a useless, time-wasting, and utterly worthless course in my life. The so-called “Trainer” was an absolute nightmare. She was:

    • Ill-prepared;
    • A poor time-keeper;
    • Unable to control the group;
    • Unable to stick to the point.

    Here follows the story of my two days there.

    For clarity’s sake, here’s a list a list of the principal participants:

    DRAMATIS PERSONNAE
    • The “Trainer”;
    • The “Lads”;
    • “Colin” (not his real name);
    • and about half a dozen other captive participants.

    I should explain that the “Lads” were a couple of young men who were disruptive both verbally and in their body language (one of them spent a lot of his time picking up the nearest empty chair and putting it on top of his head, if you can imagine such a thing!). They did have had a tendency to dominate the discussion, raising topics which – as far as one could make out – were nothing to do with jobseeking. I should emphasise, however, that this is not intended to be a criticism of them – I appreciate they were behaving as well as they could, and their unchecked behaviour illustrates the Trainer’s total inability to control the group.

    I’ll kick off with the first afternoon (Monday). Following the morning session the Trainer advised all of us to be back in the room by 12.30pm following a half-hour lunch break. We were all back well in time, but the Trainer herself didn’t trouble to return until around 1.00pm. Once returned, she immediately drifted out of the room to talk to a colleague about something or other. She then came back in and started handing round some files. However, she didn’t bother to finish doing this herself, instead delegating the task to one of the Lads whilst once again she drifted out of the room in order to talk to somebody. Once back in the room, she got involved in an interminable three-cornered discussion with the Lads which, from what one could make out, had nothing to do with work.

    Ill-prepared. Eventually the Trainer was ready to write on the flipchart pad, but since there was only one sheet remaining and that already had a few words on it, she said she’d have to leave the room to get a new pad, which she did. By now I was well into the “God-Give-Me-Strength-between-gritted-teeth” mode. It was another interminable length of time before she returned with the flipchart, whereupon she wrote up the words “Benefits of Working”. She then asked us what the benefits of working were, whereupon one of us said “Money”. So she wrote the word “Money” on the chart – somewhat ironic in view of the fact that A4e specialises in pushing people into “work experience”, i.e. work you don’t get paid for!

    At this juncture a nice laid-back, long-haired guy called Colin pointed out that it had taken her no fewer than 90 minutes to effectively do nothing other than write four words on a flipchart. Whereupon she immediately went on the offensive and accused him of having failed so far to make any contribution to the session – she said at least the Lads were doing that. This I thought was unnecessarily aggressive and humiliating, a nasty piece of psychological bullying. And A4e claims to build up your confidence……! Quite apart from the fact he’d made a very valid point regarding the poor quality of the delivery.

    When it came to yet another of the many irregular refreshment breaks I couldn’t resist approaching Colin and thanking him for saying just what I wanted to say myself but hadn’t dared to. He was, however, very apologetic and said words to the effect he realised he had a problem with “anger management”. I’m not at all sure I was successful in convincing him there are times when anger is a right and proper reaction to a situation! (“Anger management” would appear to be one of those things like having “an attitude problem”, i.e. a cheap and easy putdown when you want to degrade somebody without good reason.)

    As it was, Colin made a point of contributing quite a bit to the afternoon discussions, obviously mindful of the Trainer’s strictures on his earlier supposed non-contribution. I wasn’t best pleased to find he now felt obliged to apologise to the group publicly for his earlier “anger”. So much for A4e’s claims to boost people’s confidence.

    A poor time-keeper. Talking of refreshment breaks, during both the Monday and the Tuesday the Trainer spent much of her time sitting at her computer snacking inconsequentially. This struck me as being thoroughly unprofessional – surely any programme purporting to get people into good working habits should be well focussed and should provide some kind of meaningful structure to the day? Especially when we were the ones supposedly at fault…!

    By the end of Monday’s session, which dragged on for a good seven hours, all the Trainer had done was:
    • Hand out and take in 2 tests (see below);
    • Write a few words on a flipchart;
    • Hand out a few files. And she didn’t even bother to finish this job herself.

    Inability to control the group. Well, yes, the Lads were contributing in their own way. But surely any trainer worth their salt would know how to steer the discussion in a direction that was relevant to everyone in the room and that involved an active contribution from the other group members, instead of allowing all this interminable rambling? The situation wasn’t helped by the fact the door to the room was wide open at all times, and the Trainer’s colleagues and other service users were constantly drifting in and out, wandering around having an offhand natter with each other about this, that and the other.

    Inability to stick to the point. It wasn’t just the Lads who were behaving in a way that was distracting our attention away from what we were supposedly there for. The Trainer spent a lot of time whittering on about how she had a mountain bike but didn’t like to ride it in the city centre because of the traffic. What this had to do with jobseeking, God only knows.

    The Lads weren’t there on the Tuesday. However, this was no barrier to the session being just as slow-moving, with the Trainer spending half the morning maundering on about Michael Jackson’s funeral arrangements. What this had to do with jobseeking… well! And they call it the “Intensive Activity” period??!!! I’m sorry, but the only intensive activities on offer were intensive boredom. And frustration. And bugger all in the way of “activity”. At one point I did corroborate her point about the Lads meaning well, but was very taken aback when she took this observation and used it against Colin, comparing his supposed inability to make a contribution unfavourably with the Lads’ participation. This had been far from my intention, but I didn’t dare say so.

    About the tests: there were two of them on the Monday morning. Well, I have 10 “O” Levels, including English Language and Mathematics, 3 “A” Levels, a degree in English, a Diploma in Librarianship, and a PhD. If someone had given me a crystal ball 20 or 30 years ago, I’d never have dreamed I’d be spending the week before my 56th birthday doing compulsory tests to prove that I can read: (“Which of these signs says CAUTION – SLIPPERY FLOOR?”), and to prove that I can count from one to eight: (“How many people are there in this picture?”). If I’d known this then, I really think I’d have been tempted to top myself.

    So much for A4e’s assertion that “There are various courses available, and I would like to stress that no two courses are the same as we are all individuals. We will base your course around what you need; ensuring that you’re [sic] training is realistic* to your job goal.” (* I think they mean “relevant” rather than “realistic”. However, I’ll let this pass. They’re the experts, after all)

    All this was frustrating enough as it was, but particularly so in my case because until then I had been working towards setting up my own business. A wonderful business with a completely new and original product that was exciting the interest of everyone I spoke to about it. I had by the summer of 2009 forged a very fruitful relationship with a local provider of business support, and was working with an excellent local organisation that offered the opportunity to study for an NVQ, with one of their representatives acting as my New Deal Adviser. They were extremely knowledgeable and supportive, and we were enjoying a really good relationship… until Jobcentre Plus informed me their contract had been terminated, and I was to attend A4e sessions instead.

    I wasn’t getting my business going fast enough, they said. Now, I’m sure I’m not the only person who can’t get a business up and running within a couple of weeks. It takes time. Time to identify potential funders and suppliers. Time to provide them with the necessary data. Time for them to formulate their reply. And you need to take on board the fact you’re by no means their only customer. Rome wasn’t, after all, built in a day. What made things all the worse that my time at A4e coincided with a time when my email and internet access had been suspended because I couldn’t afford to pay the bill, and the only place – another local training provider, and a really good one – which offered computer access had limited opening hours which unfortunately clashed with the obligatory A4e attendance hours. So bang went any business contacts for the duration.

    The Jobcentre wouldn’t accept this. With the result I had the rug pulled from beneath my feet, and was dragged kicking and screaming away, as it were, from my beloved business plan and thrust into the clutches of the ghastly A4e.

    Well, I admit they didn’t actively prevent me from working on my plan. But they made it perfectly clear the idea was invalid as a way of earning a living, was only to be worked on as a hobby; and had nothing whatever to do with getting a “real” job. This was made only too clear at one such Interrogation by The Jobbzstapo where, despite my having gone to the trouble of compiling a detailed document setting out the various stages I’d reach with my plan, I saw this set aside without the Interrogator even glancing at it. What I really needed, she said, was a “short-term goal”, she said, as she clattered away on the keyboard without looking at me, eyes staring fixedly at the screen in desperate search for call-centre drudgery positions – last in, first out, “flexible” (i.e. completely insecure) working conditions, see you again soon once they sling you back on the scrap heap kind of jobbz.

    I eventually decided to confront them about who had decided to ditch my excellent business planning consultants – was it them, the Dolerama? The DWP? Or a bit of both? And why? I didn’t get a straight answer to this, only a vague assertion that it was probably a bit of both, but in any case such information was confidential and they weren’t authorised to tell me anything more.

    Somewhere or other knocking around on this site, or a related site, is a delightful picture of a protesting Homer Simpson sticking his finger up his arse.

    This picture says it all, really.

    Cheers, everyone,

    BeastAnd Superbeast

    PS: Without wishing to throw a spanner into the works or upset the apple cart or whatever, I should point out that all this happened under a Labour government.

    • Good god your story makes me terrified for my future and my mental sanity.
      I am around your age having worked all over the world before I became too ill. If I end up on a scheme such as you describe having been made miraculously well by ATOS I swear I will top myself!

    • A truly surreal experience BeastAndSuperbeast. Nothing surprises me anymore these days. What really riles me is the fact that they showed no interest in your business plans. Aren’t A4E supposed to be entrepreneurs?
      I’ve now been unemployed for several weeks but if they ever send me on one of these scam training schemes I think I’ll pretend to be stupid and use that as a cover to embarrass the trainer.

  11. Boycott Workfare
    If you can’t wait til next Saturday and you live in north London – here’s another chance to voice your disgust at workfare.

    Friday 2nd March anti-workfare protest at IDS visit to Haringey, 9 AM outside Tottenham Town Hall

    The government workfare schemes of forced labour for benefits (pushed by Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling) are starting to collapse under the pressure of protest and recent bad publicity.

    On Saturday 3rd March there will be a national day of action against workfare, with protests in 20 towns in the UK. But we have the opportunity to show our opposition locally when IDS visits Haringey on Friday morning. He will be spinning the government nightmare at a lecture ”Building for the Future” at the Dream Centre in Tottenham Town Hall (9.30 am to 12 noon).

    Join the 9am picket/protest outside Tottenham Town Hall (5 minutes walk up the High Road from Seven Sister’s tube station) – called by Boycott Workfare

  12. The idiot that wrote the threatening letter is no lawyer.
    You cannot libel a company, only a person….. so be careful what you say about the money gra….er..owning bosses of the firm and their you have it.
    You can “slander and libel” only if it is provable and true or you can’t defend it.
    So to say something like Emma is a soulless, conniving, money grabbing, swindling slave trader for example would need proof or you could not say it.

  13. Excellent piece Super beast.

    Just about end 2008 I had to go to working links having just started income support for illness, (now defunct)

    1st and only interview lasted less than 5 minutes.
    I refused to sit in the hard functional plywood chairs. Said it would hurt me (true), Said I would not be able to walk back to my car if they kept me standing for long and would need to lie down in a corner of their office for an hour to recover. (true).

    I placed a CV and an A4 sheet of symptoms and diagnoses on the table. As She read it. I said bye and staggered and limped slowly out of the door. She didn’t say a word; was speechless.

    3 days later I got a get out of jail free card from them telling me that I did not need to attend ever again.

  14. Here goes again…. not long had a letter from NHS Primary Care Trust Business Manager. (She oversee’s appeals…go figure).

    They threatened me with action from their security team if I contact them again in the matter of their law breaking and fraudulent activities designed to steal £38,000 a year from my sick mother so that she can pay for her own NHS treatment. Ironically she was a nurse before retirement.

    I have never been rude or even hassled them with many calls or e-mails.
    But having mentioned that me, my fathers and my mothers MP’s were in receipt of the e-mail copies, so that they could advise us, they shut us down. Yet they get to record everything and send it to whoever they wish.

    So yes it is possible that someone will send the body armoured boys around….. particularly considering that a health organisation has threatened me with just that action.

  15. Pingback: PHA Media defends fraudsters A4e « Ipswich Unemployed Action.

  16. The letter has been formally notified on the IUA blog now (see above trackback) as an blog article with a link here.

  17. 3rd march protest day, go to any of the 20 towns

    Where is a list of towns please, Ill going with my partner & baby to protest but I need more details on where, when ????

    please help ?????? Thanks :)

  18. Pingback: A4e Lie and Blame Bloggers to Cover Up Info Leak | the void

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