Job provider accused of using dead people, prisoners to inflate numbers: audit
Jobs agencies have been accused of claiming fees for dead people and prisoners, lying about attendance and misappropriating funds, according to an audit of the federal government’s $1.6 billion national remote employment scheme.
About 20 per cent of all jobs service providers were deemed at high or very high risk of fraud in May 2016, while 37 per cent were assessed as financially vulnerable and 42 per cent as “not delivering activities and services” effectively or otherwise missing goals.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s own monitoring identified nine providers as having rorted the Community Development Program in 2015 and last year, but referred only three to its fraud team for assessment. “Given the serious nature of the non-compliance and the fact that it generated overpayments to providers … the matters should have been promptly referred,” the audit said.
Almost $700,000 of misappropriated funds were recovered last year, but early results from another assessment identified further issues around “attendance and compliance”.
The Australian National Audit Office examined the design and implementation of the CDP. According to its report, released yesterday, the scheme costs about $10,500 per participant — about double the cost of its predecessor and about five times the cost of the much bigger Jobactive program operating in urban and regional areas.
The audit found that although some providers were claiming as much as $31,400 per participant, the new scheme had delivered only marginal improvements over its predecessor, the Remote Jobs and Communities Program.
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