At a time of great political and financial uncertainty, let’s ensure the best outcomes for jobseekers with health conditions and disabilities | Big Society Capital

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At a time of great political and financial uncertainty, let’s ensure the best outcomes for jobseekers with health conditions and disabilities

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Public services are undergoing a system-wide reform with increasing demand for services against a backdrop of reduced Government funding

An open letter on the Work and Health Programme.

So, we need new ideas and different ways of delivering services that meet the needs of the most vulnerable people in the UK - the very people that will be hardest hit by current political and financial volatility.

Charities and social enterprises have considerable skills in this area yet they face massive barriers when it comes to bidding for, and winning, contracts – only one of 21 contracts in the Government’s ground-breaking Transforming Rehabilitation Programme is being delivered by a social sector led consortium. 

We need public service procurement to be competitive if it is to deliver the best outcomes for those in need and achieve value for money. As the Government launches the Work and Health Programme for jobseekers with health conditions and disabilities - which at £130 million is smaller than the current Work Programme - we urge it to adopt these three key recommendations based on today’s research by Reform:

  1. Guarantee minimum-referral volumes. This will allow a broader range of providers to bid with confidence that the scope is realistic and sustainable.
  2. Set lower thresholds for parent-company guarantees at no more than 10 per cent of annual contract value. This would reduce barriers to market entry and allow smaller and specialist organisations to bid.
  3. Place a heavier emphasis on quality of bids. This would help prevent a race to the bottom on cost, where only providers who discount price without improving quality are able to secure contracts.

By learning from previous experience and making key changes to the process before it gathers pace, the Department of Work and Pensions can ensure that the expertise and innovation of charities and social enterprises are not frozen out of the bidding process.

Cliff Prior, Chief Executive, Big Society Capital

Chris Wright, Chief Executive, Catch22

Patrick Crawford CB, Chief Executive, Charity Bank

Andrew O'Brien, Head of Policy and Engagement, Charity Finance Group (CFG)

Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive, Employment Related Services Association (ERSA)

Graham Duxbury, Chief Executive, Groundwork

Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive, Locality

Patrick Murray, Head of Policy and External Affairs, New Philanthropy Capital (NPC)

Dominic Llewellyn, Co-Chief Executive, Numbers for Good

Nick Temple, Deputy Chief Executive, Social Enterprise UK

Jonathan Flory, Director, Social Finance

Jonathan Jenkins, Chief Executive, Social Investment Business

Mark Norbury, Chief Executive, UnLtd

Last updated | 
13 July 2016


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