A4e 'social purpose' claim banned
A claim by welfare-to-work business A4e that it is a "social purpose company" has been banned for potentially misleading consumers into thinking it is a not-for-profit organisation.
The company, which faced allegations of fraud in relation to Government contracts, claimed on the website mya4e.com: "A4e is a social purpose company with one sole aim. To improve people's lives around the world. We do this by helping them find work, skills, direction - or whatever it is they need."
One person complained that the "social purpose" claim was likely to mislead consumers as to the nature of the business because it intended to generate a profit.
Defending the claim, A4e said the focus of its business activities was to "achieve positive social outcomes", adding that the majority of its revenue was derived from contracts aimed at achieving long-term sustainable employment outcomes.
It said it held contracts with the Department for Work and Pensions to deliver its work programme and to help unemployed people to move towards sustainable employment and held further contracts with a third party to deliver a range of skills training courses.
However the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it was concerned that readers would interpret the claim to mean that A4e was a not-for-profit organisation.
The ASA said: "Whilst we noted the ad made clear that it was A4e's intention to improve people's lives by helping them to secure employment or develop skills, we were concerned that individuals would understand the claim to mean that A4e was a not-for-profit organisation.
"Because we understood that that was not the case, we concluded the claim was likely to mislead and breached the Code."
It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form and told A4e to ensure claims were not likely to mislead in future.