Its employees have been arrested, an internal review suggesting widespread fraud has been leaked and its major shareholder has been forced to resign as chairman. How could A4e possibly counter the prevailing view it is a corrupt shower? Simple: hire well-positioned lobbyists to ensure the government contracts it depends on keep on coming.
PR Week magazine reported on Wednesday that the welfare profiteer has hired “a small number of senior employees at Quiller Consultants” to prepare a “crisis comms brief” to “assist on issues management”.
The team will be led by George Bridges, David Cameron’s former election campaign manager, Home Secretary Theresa May’s ex-chief of staff, and an ex-strategist for the Chief Medical Officer.
The move suggests A4e may not be best pleased with the ranks of lobbyists it already pays. Chris Philipsborn, director of communications at A4e said the company already retains “Connect, Edelman and APCO as public affairs advisers on a mixture of UK and international issues”, as well as PHA Media. The Association of Professional Political Consultants register also lists Greenhaus, Maitland Political and Stratagem as agencies the company has recently worked with.
As A4e chief executive Andrew Dutton admitted to the Public Accounts Committee in February, all its revenue comes from the ‘public’ sector. So nice to know that A4e is not the only corporate beneficiary of the government’s outsourcing orgy.