University keeping link with A4e ‘under continual review’

Glyndwr University and controversy-hit recruitment company A4e have agreed they need more time to negotiate a partnership that would see the institution validate the firm’s awards.

February 27, 2012

Last October, the university announced it would train A4e staff, who would then be able to offer higher education to unemployed people.

However, A4e is currently under investigation for alleged fraud. Emma Harrison last week stood down as the company’s chairman, and as the government’s “family champion”.

A spokesman for Glyndwr said it was “aware of the allegations made about A4e”.

“Even before these allegations surfaced the period of negotiations concerning the nature of any relationship with A4e had been extended by mutual consent,” he said in a statement.

“The university is obviously keeping the situation under continual review.”

Four former workers at the company were arrested last month on suspicion of fraud, while a separate police inquiry is reportedly looking into allegations of fraud involving a subcontractor.

A4e has also been criticised by Margaret Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee, who dubbed its performance on some government contracts “abysmal”.

Ms Harrison has been criticised for reportedly receiving £8.6 million last year in company dividends.

Last October, Michael Scott, Glyndwr’s vice-chancellor, said the institution would validate “as many [people with A4e] as possible as long as we can keep the quality” but that Glyndwr would be “very disciplined and very measured”.

“We have got to work out the financials on both sides,” he explained, but added that “financially this will be beneficial for both Glyndwr and A4e”.

The partnership would involve Glyndwr training A4e staff and inspecting the company’s training centres.

A4e already offers further education, but a partnership with Glyndwr would allow it to teach higher education for the first time.

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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