NCVO and Serco to set standards governing how contractors work together

Best-practice guidelines will cover a number of areas, the NCVO's James Allen tells parliamentary committee, including supply chain management and risk

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the services firm Serco are working together to develop a set of standards that will govern the relationship between prime contractors and subcontractors, a parliamentary committee heard yesterday.

Speaking at a Public Administration Select Committee evidence session on procurement, James Allen, head of public services and partnerships at the NCVO, said the standards would cover several areas that are important to charities.

These will include supply chain management, the level of risk that a subcontractor can take on and the level of support that a sector body needs from a prime contractor.

Allen told Third Sector after the evidence session that the standards would also provide guidance on payment mechanisms and how contracts should be negotiated fairly.

He said they would also look at how organisations can ensure that the amount of time and information required to apply for a subcontract are proportionate to the contract size.

Allen said the standards would be "voluntary best-practice guidance" and were likely to be published shortly, but that no date had been set.

He said the standards would applyu not only to relationships between the private and voluntary sectors, but would also offer effective guidance for prime contractors working with small businesses.

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