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Misuse of the European Social Fund

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Hi guys,


Just had a quick thought and wondered if anyone could clarify if there may be a legal avenue here.


I noticed that many providers of services to the DWP make use of this fund.


Is there a case to be made that t he use of sanctions and the behaviour of some of these companies is at least not in the spirit of the European Social Fund agenda?


The European Social Fund (ESF) is the European Union's main financial instrument for supporting employment in the member states of the European Union as well as promoting economic and social cohesion.


I don't really know much about European law, I understand though that you generally have to exhaust things here before going up a level but surely there must be a way to raise this there. I'm email my MEP about the behaviour of some organisations who run the work programme, but just wondered if any of you could give any insights.

Edited by Choosealetter

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The A4e case is old news around here I'm afraid, and was just one of several investigations in to the company over the years. There were probably a number of other frauds being investigated that involved other providers and were quietly swept under the carpet.


If you were hoping to bring these companies to book over misuse of ESF funding, you had better have plenty of hard evidence and deep pockets to pay the legal costs.





No... you can't eat my brain just yet. I need it a little while longer.

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Many of the programmes that have been introduced by DWP over recent years have been subsidised by the European Social Fund.


As with all other government or official documentation the ESF has volumes of bumf attached containing all sorts of rules and regulations, does and don'ts.


There is an interesting document titled "European Social Fund Operational Programme 2014-2020" that could answer most of your enquiries. You can read/download it at -




If you have experience or evidence of programmes that you have been obliged to participate in that have been funded wholly or in part by ESF, that did not conform or comply with the stated aims or outcomes set out and agreed as being a condition of the funding being allocated, then there is no reason why you could not use the law to seek redress.


The idea that setting out on this course of action is beyond you financially is fanciful. A formal letter to the organisation that you are in dispute with setting out your case and leaving them in no doubt that you intend to take the matter to the limits allowable under the law is usually sufficient to end the treatment of which you complain before it gets anywhere near the stage where you need to start thinking of costs.

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