A4e told to remove 'social purpose company' claim from website
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Legal
Government back to work contractor slammed by ASA
A4e, the Government back-to-work contractor, has been told by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) to remove a claim on its website which said it was a "social purpose company".
The ASA was asked to investigate claims that the line was likely to mislead consumers as to the nature of its business.
The ASA noted that the claim was "misleading" as A4e's business activities were intended to generate a profit.
The watchdog has now ruled that "the ad must not appear again in its current form."
A4e has an annual turnover of over £180 million and currently holds contracts with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to deliver its Work Programme and other back-to-work schemes.
However, the Government did terminate a contract with the firm in May after deciding that continuing with it was "too risky". It followed a DWP audit examining the controls operated by A4E on all its current department contracts.
Although the audits found no evidence of fraud, the Government identified "significant weaknesses" in A4e's internal controls on a Mandatory Work Activity contract in the South East.
In a statement, A4e said: "The ASA has upheld a complaint against A4e’s use of the term ‘social purpose company’ to describe itself. In line with the ASA’s recommendation, we are amending our advertising; however, given that we continue to deliver services which positively impact on people’s lives, we are a private company with a social purpose. To this end, we are considering an appeal against the ASA ruling."