The Shaw Trust is still waiting for confirmation from the coalition government that it will honour the 16 Work Choice contracts awarded to it by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) just before the election.
The Trust was named preferred provider for 16 of the 28 Work Choice contracts in late March, and was particularly pleased as eight of them were in new geographical areas for the charity.
Work Choice will replace the Workstep programme, which aims to prepare the hardest to help – people who have not worked for years, or are badly disabled – for the workplace and help them find jobs. The Shaw Trust has extensive experience in this work, having in the past delivered up to 40 per cent of the Workstep programmes nationwide.
Workstep ends in October and Work Choice was intended to take over from it immediately.
However, after being told by DWP that it had won the 16 contracts, purdah happened and the contracts were never signed. The new government then decided to review Work Choice to see how it aligns with its new model of payment-by-results.
Shaw Trust spokeswoman Kate Groves said that the nature of Work Choice, by serving the most difficult to help, meant it didn’t lend itself easily to payment according to outcomes, as many beneficiaries required long-term support.
She said the Trust had had meetings with parliamentary under-secretary of state for work and pensions Maria Miller (pictured) and other MPs to explain the situation, and hoped to hear a result on the contracts soon. Until then, the Trust is pressing ahead with a “certain level of implementation of Work Choice” that DWP knows about, in order to ensure there is no gap in provision once Workstep ends.