Charities win more Pathways contracts

Voluntary sector providers have been awarded five of the 16 second-round Pathways to Work contracts, the Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed.

The Shaw Trust and Royal British Legion Industries secured five of the contracts which have been officially announced by the DWP in the second and final round of pathways business (Third Sector, 17 October).

The Shaw Trust secured three and RBLI two the contracts from Pathways to Work, the latest government scheme designed to help people on incapacity benefits return to work.

The DWP's procurement process and criteria came under fire from the sector after the Shaw Trust was the only charity to land any of the 19 contracts in the first bidding round in September.

The chief executives body Acevo commissioned an independent inquiry into the process which concluded that it had not been unfair, but more clarity was needed about questions such as whether employment transfer rules should apply (Third Sector Online, 23 November).

Acevo director of strategy and enterprise Peter Kyle said the latest announcements were a step in the right direction for the sector.

"Clearly we are not there yet in regard to recognising all the talents of the third sector, but we are getting there," he said.

"There are now dual challenges for the Government not to become smug about having given us some of the work and for the sector to deliver better than the other providers to ensure that we come out on top."

Third sector minister Phil Hope said the announcement was "an important endorsement of the role that third sector organisations can play in delivering innovative public services such as this".

RBLI chief executive John Quin said the charity would be greatly expanding its services to help people back into employment.

"We will be working in partnership with a range of other local organisations, all sharing our vision of providing an exceptional service," he said.

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