Families 'tsar' grabs £8m in fees

While Prime Minister David Cameron urges pay restraint on company bosses and the public sector, his chief adviser for troubled families and the long-term unemployed is raking in millions from public sector contracts, despite missing key targets.

Some MPs are calling the fees 'families tsar' Emma Harrison's earns via her company A4e an "outrage".

Lucrative contracts

In fact, A4e's income - hefty dividends totalling £11m were paid to several directors, though Harrison, worth around £70m, took the lion's share - is up 300% on the previous year. The UK turnover of Harrison's company is considerable, estimated at up to £180m, and all derived from government contracts.

The details have emerged through the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, specifically looking at the costs of the Coalition's Work Program. It was disclosed that Harrison's A4e company had not met its 30% target of full employment via its 'Pathways to Work' operation.

No performance link?

The actual figure achieved by Harrison's company was just 9%, MPs were told, though A4e has subsequently claimed the figure was higher. Andrew Dutton, A4e's chief exec, defended the pay-outs to the Commons.

"The dividends that we pay to the shareholders reflect the personal risk that they have," the Guardian reports. "Having owned a company for over 21 years, at times they have had to effectively put their own homes and mortgages on the line."

The Mail also alleges that A4e benefited from large "termination fees" when the DWP replaced a previous back-to-work programme with an all-new version. In the Mail's report, Tory MP Steve Barclay worried whether it was right that the Department for Work and Pensions to still pay management fees not linked to performance.

However the DWP claims that their new Work Programm is now built on a payment-by-results model.