Lobby briefing: Danny Alexander

The Lib Dem spokesman for work and pensions discusses welfare and employment service reforms

What's your party's view of the Government-backed Freud review of welfare and employment services?

I am keen on the idea of getting more voluntary and private sector organisations involved. The evidence I've seen suggests voluntary organisations often deliver far better results than the public sector in helping people into work.

Do you have any concerns about the review?

I worry about the Government's willingness and ability to deliver on this. I have been concerned about the way the contracting process for Pathways to Work - the programme to help people into work - has been carried out.

What concerned you?

Providers from the voluntary and private sectors were asked to tender for certain areas of the country where these sectors are going to lead on the Pathways programme. The terms of the tender were changed by the Department for Work and Pensions just hours before the final bids were submitted, and the deadline was extended. A lot of effort went into preparing those tenders and they then had to do it all again.

What do you think about the size of the proposed contracts?

If the Government is going to go down the route of large-scale contracts, which I am not convinced about, then the rules about sub-contracting have to be clear.

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