DWP ESF Final update

All preferred bidders have now secured their contracts. All of the announced winners matched the preferred bidders in the story published here in April.

W2W - Plenary speech by Alan Cave and Chris Humphries

Alan Cave (Delivery Director, DWP)
Alan's speech solidified the vision of DWP as market developers, and reaffirmed their commitment to the black-box approach and payment on outcomes. He sounded a note of caution on Purnell's announcement of the 'right to bid', pointing out that this doesn't give the DWP a 'duty to fund' and that the Treasury would need to approve funding as appropriate.

W2W - Keynote speech by James Purnell

Analysis - New Deal performance 2008

Following a recent FoI request, the DWP have e-mailed us copies of their current performance data under the 'Flightpath' system, which tracks contract delivery for New Deal, Programme Centres, and one or two other programmes. We've published the e-mailed documents as file attachments at the bottom of this article, so you can carry out your own analysis on the source data if you wish. All UK contracts are covered by the data.

Summary of data

Too well to sit at home, too ill to work full-time

This blog post provides an insight into the way the benefits system can fall over when the lines between job readiness and illness become blurred. Not news, so not in the newswire, but interesting nonetheless.

This news story tells a similar tale of a woman in West Fife who is too sick to work but not sick enough to claim benefits.

Watch this space

The DWP have just responded to a FoI request with some mildly interesting information, but I need some time to go through it before sending it out. It appears they were less than helpful on the time period covered, however. Anyone fancy New Deal and Programme Centre performance statistics for all providers? All well and good, but how about if we limit that to just a 3 month period?! I'll publish what I can glean from the data shortly.

Choose your own article! (still open)

The weather was far too lovely to think about the next article over the weekend, but I feel a bit guilty about not putting something together now the newsletter time's come round. More importantly, I'm not actually sure what you want to hear about anyway.

So now's your chance. What floats your boat? Gets your wick? What would you like to know more about? What dark and murky corners would you like a light to shine on? I promise to write articles about the first five responses, and any we like after that.

How can you tell if someone is job ready?

With the new NDDP contracts and flexible New Deal on the horizon, there's a lively debate going on about creaming and parking. But is it possible to predict who's ready to move into work anyway? Can a formal diagnostic ever be accurate enough to rely on, or are adviser's instincts the best guide?

DWP ESF contract awards

Update 2/6 - The DWP website has put up the official announcement of ESF winners. All of the confirmed winners are the same as were published here some weeks ago. The following preferred bidders are still in negotiation:

  • EM03 Carter & Carter (now known as In Training)
  • LO4 Tomorrow's People
  • LO5 Tomorrow's People
  • NW05 ERP Ltd
  • SW WOE 1 Tomorrow's People

Announcements tool - how to kill the subcontractor spam and keep everyone connected

Update 30th May - We've cancelled deployment of the FND Announce tool as the DWP are now setting up their own database. To go on the DWP database, you need to complete the Excel stencil attached to this post and e-mail it to sheffieldmayfieldcourt [dot] flexiblenewdeal [at] dwp [dot] gsi [dot] gov [dot] uk. The DWP's invitation letter for the database is here and some other ways to get yourself heard can be found here.

We've been working on a clever tool for both primes and subcontractors over the past two days, and could do with some feedback on whether people would find it useful.

Working Leaks

A number of contributors have been forwarding an outrageously vicious parting shot e-mail by a PCS union rep in recent weeks. It's entertaining, but also very partisan and monumentally libellous. I will not be publishing it on the site, at least not with any of the names left in. However, exposing malpractice is an important function of the press, and evidenced claims will be considered.

Notes on Panorama - 'Britain on the Sick'

The programme gave a reasonable overview of the government's new approach to dealing with IB customers, focusing on claimants in Merthyr Tydfil. However, the issues raised were not covered in depth and most of the content would come as no surprise to people in welfare-to-work.

The choice of Merthyr had some impact on the show's findings, as the area is post-industrial with high unemployment and IB rates, and a lack of jobs.

Richard review of business support

With the potential incoming Conservative government, the Richard review of business support in the UK could have a major impact on the welfare-to-work industry.

The main effects on providers would be:

  • Closing down the Business Links and many related business support services.
  • Opening a single web portal that included a single online marketplace for government procurement.


Pause in DWP ESF awards

Further to the news on preferred bidders for the recent DWP ESF round, we've heard that the DWP sent an e-mail to prime contractors last week informing them that contract awards have been delayed as a number of providers have raised issues with the contracts the DWP was asking them to sign.

If you're a subcontractor and wondering why your primes still aren't talking with you, this is why. They're embargoed from talking with subcontractors until the official contract award has taken place.

What do you think of flexible New Deal?

I was talking to consultants this morning who are trying to decide whether to recommend investing in flexible New Deal (FND) prime contractors. I couldn't give them a straight answer. Can you? Will it give providers the freedom to truly help people, or the freedom to harm them? Are you looking forward to it? Are there any problems with the existing New Deal that it might solve? Write away!