Posts Tagged ‘providers’

Telling it like it is!

Richard Johnson unravells the mystery around the Work Programme…

He says…

“DWP’s Performance report is hopelessly uninformative”

In todays Guardian he has argued that ‘we’.. ‘they’ need to understand the cost of delivering the Work Programme thereby enabling the Commissioner to incentivise, and target assistance at, people furthest from the work place and to track and put a cap on profits.

Richard explains that without data about how many people have started in work and have stayed there, the report provides no meaningful insight into whether the Work Programme is working.

“The only reason we are not allowed to have these in the public domain is because the employment minister, Chris Grayling, has said in meetings with contractors that he does not want to provide Labour with ammunition to beat him up about his programme’s failure, in the same way he used to attack them insisting, in short, on putting his own political position ahead of the lives of hundreds of thousands of unemployed people.

Richard has called for a seismic shift in the approach of the DWP and for it to be a steward of the market place.

Contracts would also have to be flexible, with payment terms periodically reviewed to ensure maximum impact.

Richard also calls for an independent regulator for welfare to work could stand apart from the vested interests of both minister and contractor and be accountable for policing the performance of these programmes.

Read more in the Guardian


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Should Prime contractors be paying the travel expenses of job seekers?


… well, that is the question…..

A couple of Work Programme providers are been accused of operating ‘Sharp practices’ and not covering reasonable expenses and/or not informing job seekers of rights


Any news on this would be appreciated… however, as with all these types of complaints there are shades of grey…



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Minister says that Charities are not ‘Bid candy’

The employment minister Chris Grayling has denied that prime contractors of the government’s Work Programme have used voluntary organisations as “bid candy” to win contracts.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations Special Interest Group for Work Programme Sub-contractors said last month some small specialist charity providers feared large prime contractors were using them as “bid candy” to make their supply chains look more attractive during the tendering stage.

The group also said the programme, which pays prime contractors by the amount of people they get into work, was in danger of systemic failure unless some key issues were addressed….

Read more….in Third Sector

  • We have learned that some  charities, are considering pulling out of the Work Programme


  • Other organisations have received no referrals from their prime contractor
  • Others are receiving inappropriate customers



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Friday 10th June – For immediate release


Providers say new Work Programme is on course to transform peoples’ lives


The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), the trade association for the welfare to work industry, has today said that the Government’s new Work Programme has the potential to help transform the lives of millions of people who are out of work.

The Work Programme, which is being rolled out from this month, marks a radical shift in the provision of welfare to work services with old programmes being wound up and replaced by one single back to work programme. Providers will be paid by results once they have moved jobseekers into sustainable employment and there will be financial incentives to concentrate on those furthest from the labour market. It is anticipated that 2.5 million people will be referred to the Work Programme over the next 5 years.

Commenting on the launch, Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of ERSA said:

“A real advantage of the Work Programme is that providers are being given the flexibility to use their specialist knowledge to provide jobseekers with support which is based on their needs rather than on what benefit they are on. The expertise which providers possess will help individuals overcome the barriers which prevent them from securing sustainable work.

The Work Programme will be delivered in 18 geographical regions with 2 or 3 prime contractors competing in each. These prime contractors will then manage a network of sub-contractors in order to deliver individually tailored support to jobseekers. Commenting on the system of delivery, Kirsty McHugh said:

“Diverse supply chains which include partnerships between businesses, charities and local authorities are going to be crucial to the successful delivery of the Work Programme. Providers are also well placed to understand the needs of employers who also need help and support.”

Kirsty McHugh continued:

“Given the scale of the Work Programme, there will no doubt be challenges that need to be overcome. However, providers are ready and confident in delivering a service which can transform peoples’ lives as well as reduce cost to the taxpayer.”

For press enquiries please contact Philip Curry: Philip.curry@ersa.org.uk / 020 7960 6317.

Notes to editors


  • ERSA is the authoritative voice of the welfare to work sector. We represent 85% of the prime organisations that have been awarded prime contracts under the Work Programme and many of the subcontractors. We also represent 90% of providers of Work Choice, the specialist disability programme.
  • ERSA’s membership is comprised of small specialist charities through to large organisations. 50% of our members are from the not-for-profit sector.
  • ERSA members have signed up to a shared promise on customer care to ensure a high quality of service is delivered to jobseekers.
  • ESRA has a number of case studies which are available to journalists on request.

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The Framework letter came  out on Friday 13th

DWP plan to issue Invitation to Tenders on 19th August

“…under FND1 providers were required to fund up to £4m of working capital during the first contract year (based on contracts ranging from £20-60m pa). Under the Work Programme, typical contracts may require more significant working capital to be available, and for a longer period before break-even is achieved. Organisations are encouraged to consider this requirement carefully prior to submitting tenders.”

“….We currently anticipate the minimum value of Work Programme contracts to be £10m per annum. Given what is likely to be a more challenging reward model weighted far more heavily to the delivery of successful job outcomes, we have determined that the value of business awarded to a single organisation should not normally exceed 50 per cent of its existing annual turnover. This means that we would not expect to place organisations on the Framework whose current turnover is less than £20 million per annum unless..”

Use our search function to revisit our previous comments and articles on this subject

Framework EOI Clarification Letter – Final _2_

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Within the coming weeks DWP will be requesting information from providers who currently deliver existing Welfare to Work programme provision. A letter will be issued shortly giving details of the type of information that will be required and an indication of when you will be asked to provide this. This information will be required for inclusion in the Invitation to Tender which will be issued shortly.

Follow the link HERE

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The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee published its report,

The Report is skeptical about the new Merlin accreditation standard. We are very concerned that in cases where the prime contractor is in breach of contract with the Department the Department says it would not get involved”.

“‘We also note that decisions made by Merlin will have implications for the viability of individual subcontractors and for service delivery, and conclude that it makes sense for the Department to make these decisions itself, allowing it to ensure the market develops in a way which is stable, robust and meets the needs of customers’

There are a number of questions that obviously spring from this,

  • Is the standard necessary?
  • Is it owned – should it, can it – by the industry or is it the preserve of an elite?
  • What can we learn from experience in New York?
  • What are the consequences and implications of an ‘unsatisfactory’ grading?
  • What are the legal ramifications?
  • Independence, objectivity & conflict of interest: Is there an ELEPHANT in the room?

Clearly these and other questions are been analysed at the highest levels…

Our critical appraisal is coming shortly …..

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