Wise Group bids for Work Programme prime contracts

Scottish charity will bid against private companies for multimillion pound Department for Work and Pensions contracts

Scottish employment charity the Wise Group is planning to bid to become a prime contractor for the Work Programme, the new employment programme run by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Regional contracts under the programme, which will replace welfare-to-work programmes such as the Flexible New Deal and Pathways to Work, are expected to be worth up to £50m each over seven years.

Laurie Russell, chief executive of the Wise Group, said it would bid for "framework provider" status in Scotland and the north east of England. It is already a prime contractor for the Flexible New Deal. "We don't expect it to be a huge step up from our current DWP contacts," he said.

Third sector bidding consortium 3SC will also bid for prime contractor status, in partnership with a group of other organisations including the environmental regeneration charity Groundwork UK, the National Housing Federation and the Shaw Trust.

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