Jury out on welfare proposals

29 July 2007
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30 July 2007 | Paul Snell

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has not yet committed to proposals that will give procurement a bigger role in buying welfare services.

A green paper, In work, better off, outlined the government's desire to alter the existing contracts it has with suppliers for services to help people into work, but did not specify how it would achieve this.

"We believe there is real value to be gained by simplifying and rationalising our existing set of contracts over time and by taking a more strategic approach to the commissioning of employment programmes," the report said.

But the report did not endorse suggestions made in a report by former banker David Freud earlier this year, that recommend the commissioning of a few large contractors to replace the department's current regional contracts. These changes would give procurement at the department billions of pounds extra to spend each year (News, 19 July).

The DWP said the Freud report had raised "key questions" about the commissioning of services, but an appropriate strategy to tackle this was still being debated. It said it was still seeking views from providers and stakeholders and evaluating the right approach.


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