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Pathways to Work

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 28 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) when he expects to let contracts with private and voluntary sector providers to manage Pathways to Work in new areas; (77935)

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that the Pathways to Work procurement process complies with the duties and other provisions established under the Equalities Act 2006.

We are still finalising our plans for a national roll-out of Pathways to Work. In our Green Paper we said the next phase of the roll-out will be delivered primarily through voluntary and private sector providers contracted locally. The private and voluntary sectors have already demonstrated the value of their specialist knowledge and expertise in existing DWP programmes and will continue to provide major benefits. We hope to make an announcement shortly, which will lead to the start of the procurement exercise.

We will ensure that providers comply with the Equalities Act 2006. The accreditation process prior to the award of a contract confirms that providers have robust equality and diversity policies, and the Jobcentre Plus terms and conditions place contractual obligations on providers in respect of the Equalities Act 2006.