Download the Third Sector iPad edition

Chris Grayling denies Work Programme charities are 'bid candy'

No evidence that they are used to make prime contractor tenders more attractive, minister says

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, such as the effectiveness of the Merlin Standard code of conduct for supply chain contractors.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Employment Relayed Services Association, which represents organisations providing welfare-to-work services, Grayling said there had been lots of "chatter" and "mumblings and mutterings" about the supply chain.

But he said: "There is no evidence that any prime has been treating its specialist sub-contractors as bid candy."

Grayling acknowledged not everything had gone according to the textbook – for instance, some specialist providers were receiving fewer referrals than expected of people on Employment and Support Allowance – but said overall the programme was running well.

"I know we pushed the envelope very hard and very fast, but I thought we had to because benefits we are making in the early stages would be greater," he said.

He said the programme was now the subject of Whitehall conferences on how government programmes can be successfully set up quickly.

The next year of the programme, said Grayling, would be all about best practice. "I have no worries at all about the future of prime or sub-contractors that are excellent at innovating, work closely with business and think outside the box," he said.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Latest Jobs

Forthcoming Events

Sorp 2015

  • Thu 16 Oct 2014
  • London

Acevo Autumn Health and Social Care Conference 2014

  • Tue 21 Oct 2014
  • London

VAT and Gift Aid for Fundraisers

  • Wed 22 Oct 2014
  • London
RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners

Markel

Expert Hub

Advice on risk from a specialist insurer

How to reduce theft at your charity

Maximising security on your premises, using deterrents such as SmartWater and ensuring computer systems are secure can all prevent a theft occuring, says Wendy Cotton, a charity insurance expert at Markel

Renting a property: how to minimise the risks

Managing the risks that come with renting a property can make the difference between a charity thriving or failing

Download the Third Sector iPad edition