Big Society, The Regions, Welfare to Work

– Big Society leaves “crumbs” for third sector

Big Society leaves “crumbs” for third sector

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) has hit out at the government’s Big Society philosophy following the DWP’s allocation of Work Programme contracts to private companies.

John Downie, Director of Public Affairs at the SCVO said:

“ Since the third sector has proven, through highly experienced organisations like the Wise Group, as well as  schemes such as New Deal and the Future Jobs Fund, that it is not only best placed to get people into work but is the most cost-effective option in the long run.

“The danger is that the government sees this scheme as solely about getting people into any type of work  experience when it should be about creating sustainable jobs for a range of unemployed people.”

In Scotland, Ingeus and Working Links beat competition from not-for-profit organisations such as the Wise Group, whose Chief executive Laurie Russell, stated:

The Wise Group is sorely disappointed that we did not win a prime contract for the Work Programme in Scotland. We have an established track record of high performance delivery on welfare to work programmes, which the DWP has recognised.

Martin Sime cheif executive at the SCVO:

This whole process has been a travesty for the big society.  But at least we now know what the big society really means. It means the third sector gets the crumbs off the table left by big business.”

8% percent of work from the DWP contracts will be delivered by Ingeus’s supply chain of third sector organisations, whilst Working Links will offer their subcontractors 6%.  However, this has only served to fuel further consternation, from

The DWP has maintained that the process of evaluation to award of Work Programme contracts was “fair and equal” for private and not-for-profit organisations.  Over 300 organisations from the voluntary sector will support prime contractors through a supply chain.

Kuki Taylor

Research and Communications Officer



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