Saturday, February 25, 2012

The fall of Emma Harrison and A4e

From the Independent:
A day after resigning as David Cameron's jobs adviser, Emma Harrison last night also stepped down as chairman of the Government contractor A4e amid investigations into accusations of fraud at the company she founded. 
Ms Harrison, who took home a dividend of £8.6m last year despite concerns that her company had not met government standards, said she did not want the "continuing media focus" on her to be a "distraction" for A4e. 
The firm and a subcontractor are currently at the heart of police investigations into fraud and four former A4e employees have been arrested and bailed.

The fall of Harrison reminds me of an article in the Guardian last year by Aditya Chakrabortty:
Look at our household names: take out retail, banks and commodities and the things you're left with bear names such as Wessex Water or Centrica or Arriva. In other words, they do things the public sector used to do – pump water or pipe gas or lay on public transport. 
Alternatively, they're outfits such as Serco, or Capita and they're bidding for contracts from the government; or they're engineers bidding for PFI projects. Now look at the big names in America or Germany: there are firms such as Google or Siemens. 
Over here much of the private sector isn't adding anything or innovating – indeed, it's tricky to do that when you're running an administrative office or supplying water. They're simply taking contracts and cutting staffing costs.
That said, the last time I quoted this article some disagreed with his Chakrabortty's views in the comments.

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