DWP funds public service tender lessons

The Department for Work and Pensions is subsidising a series of workshops across the country this month to help charities tender more effectively for public service contracts.

Twelve workshops are scheduled to take place in locations including Manchester, Newcastle and Bristol at a cost of £35 per delegate. Demand for the one-day events, delivered by training organisation Tendering for Care, has been so high that an additional workshop has been added in Birmingham on 1 July.

The workshops will focus on a new "supply chain" approach to commissioning, which is being developed by the DWP and primary care trusts. This involves commissioning a "prime contractor" - a large charity or business to purchase services from other suppliers.

Janet Roberts, director of Tendering for Care, described the supply chain approach as a "huge opportunity" for charities, especially small organisations. It also means charities in the supply chain can charge a commercial fee, including not only their costs, but a margin as well.

Last week, the DWP announced a task force to look into the role of the voluntary sector in welfare-to-work programmes (Third Sector Online, 9 June).

Mathew Little recommends

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