The approach to commissioning services to get people into work has been re-vamped and social enterprise companies will get a greater share of the contracts.
The market for contracted employment provision is fragmented and driven by process and short-term objectives which don’t deliver the result required. The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a new commissioning strategy with more strategic relationships with providers. There will be stronger links with local delivery mechanisms such as Local Area Agreements and the City Strategy Pathfinders.
DWP Minister Stephen Timms has announced that there will be a potentially large contribution from social firms because they come into daily contact with the people who are furthest from the labour market. They are also well placed to judge best the local solutions needed for local problems.
There will be a limited number of prime contractors with large, regional contracts, but the prime contractors will enter into sub-contracts with others who will be encouraged and supported to develop. Contracts will not be as large as English regions but they will be larger than single Jobcentre Plus Districts.
The DWP is commissioning workshops to help smaller organisations become more aware of the commercial opportunities and be in a stronger position to act as sub-contractors. The Flexible New Deal will involve providers early on in developing policy to ensure that there is flexibility in delivery and personalised support and choice to customers.