Pertemps and WorkDirections in the Times 100 best companies to work for

Pertemps article - sample quote:

Pertemps People Development Group helps to reignite the spark in jobseekers who have lost hope. It aims to turn lives around, and its workforce is testament to its success — about 40% of the 576 staff members are former clients.

Star Ratings round-up

A key part of the Commissioning Strategy is the requirement for open performance information, so that providers can be held to account and customers can choose which provision to go for.

While it's not entirely clear whether the raw performance data will be published, one thing that is gearing up to take on the task is Star Ratings. Given their potential importance (think Star Ratings for hospitals and A-C grades for schools) and the questions swirling round them, we've put together a quick primer on the topic.

Cee-Mac in administration

Northampton-based provider Cee-Mac have gone into administration today and made all staff redundant. Cee-Mac hold a number of LSC contracts, but their main DWP contract is the Norfolk ESF prime contract from last year's bid round.

There are some complexities to the story, though. It appears that the DWP contract has been transferred by the DWP from the company in administration, CeeMac Projects (UK) Ltd, to its still-solvent parent company, CeeMac Ltd. This means that the contract is theoretically still live.

DWP publishes details on Day 1 support contracts

Taken from the DWP website under Crown Copyright

Support for Newly Unemployed Customers

This service will be targeted at customers who are newly unemployed claiming JSA and are good prospects for quick entry to employment once they have information and advice about modern job search techniques. Some may also need help to take stock of their transferable skills and how they match to jobs in the current labour market.

Performance statistics, you say?

In December, the DWP announced that they would be publishing individual performance statistics for all provisions starting in January. Nothing appeared, so I submitted a Freedom of Information request asking for them.

Job Clubs contracting - support for redundant executives

This Last week's newsletter referred to stories about £40m support for recently redundant professionals through 'job clubs'. I've just heard that the contracts for these are being put through the REC for start in early April. Seems they really are aiming to deliver these using recruitment firms rather than providers, as there isn't a peep about them on the DWP website.

ESF Phase 2 PQQ Event

As with most contract briefings, the presentations basically repeated the ESF PQQ instructions to make sure that everyone understood what was needed. The only new news was that the previous ESF round (2007-13) has 24,000 starts to date, with 9% job entry rate against starts or 36% against leavers. This compares to a 36% job outcomes target in the new ESF round.

Observer: Minister in welfare 'cover-up' row

Something of a follow-up to McNulty's information on contracts and performance that was mentioned in the last newsletter. I heard that people were getting in touch with the MPs who asked the question to let them know just how bad the response was. Lo and behold, an article in the Observer:

Key Points from the Select Committee report on FND and Commissioning

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The Select Committee were broadly supportive of the current contracting reforms, but had particular concerns about the future of local delivery and small organisations, and about the deliverability of FND in a recession.

DWP Bidding Opportunities - Event Report

Before each presentation at this event, the speaker often apologised to existing DWP providers that they would probably repeat a lot of information they already knew. Despite this, it was a useful day even for them. The reason? There was over an hour of Q&A with the most senior contracts people in the DWP. I've put together a rough outline of the presentations, and the Q&A. The DWP will publish the slides from the presentations on the 6th of March.

The Direction of Discussion

You might have noticed a bit of a ruckus on the Indus Delta discussions recently. There aren't any limits on posting activity on the site, and this made it easy for a single poster to monopolise the discussion section.

Advance Notice - Jobcentre Plus Support Contract

From the DWP website, so under Crown copyright

Advance Notice of forthcoming Briefing Events for the procurement of Jobcentre Plus Support Contracts.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) intends to use a two-stage tendering approach to procure support for Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) customers, people who are newly unemployed or under threat of redundancy, New Deal Lone Parents, New Deal Partners and Carers. The provision will be required in all Jobcentre Plus Districts across England, Wales and Scotland, with contracts awarded likely to cover multiple districts.

London Welfare to Work 2009 - Event Report 2

There were lots of breakout sessions at last week's conference. I made it to three, which gave insights into the relationships between primes and subcontractors, the roll-out of FND, and the efficacy of employer-led delivery. As mentioned previously, the complete presentations are available on the CESI website in PowerPoint format.

Prime contracting and subcontractor relationships in New Deal (Seetec)

London Welfare to Work 2009 - Event Report 1

The London W2W convention was originally scheduled to take place on the day after London ground to a halt under a foot of snow. However, rescheduling didn't harm attendance - the event was packed out, with standing room only for some of the more popular sessions. As always, there were a range of simultaneous presentations, and the report I've put together only gives a taster of the day. CESI has its own webpage with slides and details of all sessions.

Dispatches - The Big Job Hunt

Channel 4 ran a documentary about welfare-to-work services in the recession on 16th February. They also have a small accompanying website here in case you missed it. I've put together a summary of the programme's content below which hopefully captures the major points.