Welfare to Work, Work Capability Assessment

– Primes encouraged to seek specialist consortiums

Chris Grayling MP, Minister for Employment has proclaimed that the “commercial delivery of the Work Programme is on track”, as DWP Ministers, Iain Duncan-Smith and Maria Miller answered MPs questions this afternoon.

The Work Programme and the impact of the welfare reforms on disabled people were at the heart of the discussion, with the announcement of the successful bids from Primes contractors due at the end of this month. Hazel Blears MP started the debate, asking how small organisations and social enterprises that have tight financial margins will be able to survive the Work Programme’s payment-by-results scheme. Mr. Grayling replied that the DWP had made every effort to safeguard such organisations by holding a series of consultation events throughout the summer, including meetings with financiers from the City to encourage further support for voluntary organisations. Mr. Grayling emphasised the need for social enterprises, charities, providers, and local authorities to work together. The Merlin Standard, introduced with the Work Programme, will add further help to small organisations, as Prime contractors will have to support sub-contractors or else face losing their contracts.

“If they treat their subcontractors financially inaccurately they will lose their contracts”.

Frank Field MP, however, was not convinced, commenting that in order for social enterprises and small organisations to survive and contribute effectively to the delivering the Work Programme, Primes would have to change their attitudes, and become more inclusive. Mr. Field asserted that large providers had no interest in helping small providers.

“If we are going to protect social enterprise it will require almost a total change in attitude from big Provides”.
Under the Work Programme, said Mr. Grayling, Primes would have to consider supporting their contracts with assistance from consortiums and social enterprises.

“Prime contractors will have to demonstrate their ability to assemble consortiums of organisations with the specialist skills to help the hard to help groups…If they don’t have those networks they won’t get the contracts”.

Website: Parliament UK (TV) Here

Kuki Taylor

Research and Communications Officer


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