Work Programme prime contractors 'should give more financial help to charity subcontractors'

Helen Robinson, director of employment services at the Salvation Army, tells a Conservative Party conference fringe meeting that prime contractors should bankroll subcontractors until payments kick in

Helen Robinson
Helen Robinson

- This story has been corrected; please see final paragraph

More needs to be done to support subcontracting organisations, including charities, involved in the Work Programme, according to the Salvation Army.

Speaking at fringe event organised by the charity at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham yesterday, Helen Robinson, the charity’s director of employment services, said that prime contractors needed to give more financial support to the smaller subcontracting organisations they worked with.

She said the Salvation Army had been lucky in the programme in that it had received working capital from prime contractors to bankroll the organisation until it started to get results.

"The idea of all the reforms made by Lord Freud, the minister for welfare reform, was that the prime contractors would support the supply chain," she said.

"We are very lucky. There are smaller charities and smaller voluntary organisations that do find it difficult and have found it difficult. That is something that should be addressed."

The Salvation Army helps about 8,000 people into work each year, about half of whom go through its Employment Plus service.

- The Salvation Army used its own resources to bankroll its initial involvement in the Work Programme and did not receive any money from its prime contractors.

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