Posts Tagged ‘prime contractors’

The Supply Chain or should I say Providers are increasingly thirsty for news from DWP.

Most feel that due to their size (smaller turnover or staff) they are being left out in the cold with no information.

I am sure that DWP have a plan but it would be really helpful if they undertook a program/process of Stakeholder EngagementYes Minister specialises in this and we are happy to help…. sorry about the blatant pitch…but we can help.

In the last two days I have spoken to Providers who are preparing to lay off staff, others are extremely tense and angry that there has been no communication with them.

Others have called me and have been inquiring whether i have any news on the proposition that we are moving away from Prime Contractors to Super-Primes.

I really do not know, but what I can say is that confidence is eroding and even potential SUPER PRIMES will have reservations about the veracity of contracts going forward.

For example, lets consider the cost of tendering; in fact lets look at the costs of information security and Data Protection, lets calculate the implementation period, lets look at implementing PRaP, lets look at the cost of partnership building and stakeholder engagement, lets assesses the break even point on contracts, lets look at the cost of investing in new facilities, systems and processes, lets look at unit costs on outcomes based contracts, lets look at the increased sanctions and conditionality that will be applied, lets look at the role of providers moving towards a policing role vis-a-vis clients, lets look at the reduction of jobs in the market place, lets look at and discuss what 12 month sustained job outcomes look like (financially).

Its at times like this when ERSA – or some other body, collective or association needs to have a strong voice not only for it’s members but for the sector as a whole.


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After much sweat, tears collaboration and joint working between DWP,  providers, Office of the Third Sector the Commission for the Compact and others we now have The Merlin Standard.

Recent events in the sector have led to questions about whether Merlin will survive.

One of the central principles of Merlin is its remit to provide Stewardship of the welfare to work market place through co-regulation. The standard seeks to objectively and independently examine the relationship between the Prime Contractor and the Supply Chain.

Based on the above points there is no reason why Merlin should be in jeopardy. In fact the standard is seen by other departments as an exemplar.

However, the other role of Merlin is “….to review the role of commissioning, including the procurement process and how supply chain behaviour is affected by the behaviour of the commissioner”.

I would hazard a guess that Merlin is not dead but if it is to survive it needs to pull a few rabbits out of the proverbial hat and  Influence the Influencers!

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