Archive for June 29th, 2010

Questions are coming through thick and fast…  if you wish to raise a question, or a point of note (In Confidence) simply log in or email us directly!!


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The Framework is OUT!!

The Framework


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We understand that the Value for Money test will be one of the 4 key elements of the new Framework assessment.

just to recap; the assessments will -or is likely to – broadly cover;
  1. Financial capability/capacity
  2. Physical management and capacity to deliver
  3. Experience
  4. Value for Money test
Lets look at the Value for Money Test.
The starting position is that “value for money” tests are by definition problematic because it is difficult to factor in the cost of things going wrong over the life of the project. Any such test or assessment is hypothetical and so its credibility is difficult to test.
My analysis of the Value for money test
The higher the level of risk that can be transfered away from the public body will ultimately result in stronger incentives to innovate, better project evaluation and it will ultimately result in reducing costs.

However these advantages must be balanced against;

  • Huge contract negotiation costs,
  • Inflexibilities of a long-term contract
  • Reduced competitive pressures on performance after the contract has been entered into (in contrast with a situation where the contract is re-tendered periodically.
and …
  • the awareness that the offsetting of risk narrows the pool of participants and potentially increases dependency on PRIMES or “SUPER-PRIMES”
The key questions that the department is srtuggling with include;
  • Is it able to specify outcomes in ways that leave scope for provider/s to innovate, optimise and scale up their delivery. FND1 and FND 2 presented real challenges to providers, unit costs were low, DWP’s performace request was higher than what had historically been achieved on the New Deal and Employment Zones (Employment Zones performed the best).
PEP was a very different ball game and providers felt cornered into working within a wholly unrealitic unit costs, for a provision which was twice as long and with an almost unfathomable but definately unworkable accelerator funding model.

Incidentally; I think the axcellerator model is here to stay

  • To what extent are the desired outcomes likely to be sustainable, given the length of the contract and the economic environment? how will this be reflected in relation to funding and unit costs for 13, 26 or 52 week sustainable outcomes?

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The Coalition government has announced steps to cut welfare payments, a cap on housing benefit and tougher health (more…)

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Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk kicked off an initiative to spend a week working with small businesses to gain better insight into the experiences of companies on the ground.

Mr Prisk is spending the day with Bethnal Green-based DIY Kyoto, which makes wireless electricity meters to help consumers save energy,

Mr Prisk said:

“This initiative is very important to me. It is a great opportunity to gain real-life experience and understand the issues small businesses and entrepreneurs face.



I am being unfair… Mark Prisk knows quite a lot about small business. see his website… http://www.markprisk.com/text.aspx?id=60

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A report is published by the Department for Work and Pensions provides evidence on the operation and impact of client choice within multi provider Employment Zones.

Employment Zones were introduced as an intensive and long term employment programme. In 2004, multi provider Employment Zones (EZ) was established in six EZ areas and involved up to three contractors delivering provision. Initially mandatory clients were allocated to one of the providers on a pre-arranged contractual distribution of market share. Since April 2007, the choice of provider was extended to mandatory clients claiming Jobseekers Allowance.

The key findings of the study are:

  • Support for choice amongst the Employment Zone clients with 78% feeling it was positive.
  • Clients accessed information from a range of sources before making a choice. However, a quarter (27%) said they did not access any information.
  • Choice improved clients’ attendance and increased levels of engagement.
  • However, choice was also felt to have brought confusion for some clients.

Several factors influenced clients’ choice of providers:

………..   location of the provider;

…………. previous experience of a provider;

…………  recommendations from family and friends;

…………. information and advice about the services provided.

Read the full press release


I think there are lessons that the New Work Programme could draw from this!

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