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Employment Programme Centres

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 8 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much funding his Department provided for employment programme centres in each county in England and Wales in each year for which figures are available. (93894)

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Gentleman with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking about the funding provided by Jobcentre Plus for employment programme centres in each county in England and Wales in each year for which figures are available. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Jobcentre Plus does not collect or retain financial data at county level. However I am able to provide the amount of funding for programme centre provision in Great Britain in each of the following years:

£ million

2002-03

16.1

2003-04

19.4

2004-05

21.4

2005-06

13.8

2006-07

114.0

1 budget for current year

The amount of funding for 2005-06 and the allocation for 2006-07 are available by region in the following table.

Region

2005-06

2006-07

East Midlands

0.2

0.9

East of England

0.8

1.0

London

2.2

2.3

North East

0.6

0.8

North West

0.6

1.9

Scotland

3.1

1.6

South East

1.6

1.2

South West

1.1

0.8

Wales

1.7

0.8

West Midlands

1.4

1.4

Yorkshire and the Humber

0.5

1.3

Total

13.8

14.0

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what criteria his Department uses to evaluate bids to provide employment programme centres; (93896)

(2) whether his Department has measures in place to ensure that large contractors are not favoured over smaller contractors when bidding to provide employment programme centres.

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Gentleman with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions asking what criteria his Department uses to evaluate bids to provide employment programme centres and whether his Department has measures in place to ensure that large contractors are not favoured over smaller contractors when bidding to provide them. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

The evaluation criteria for the recent bids to run Programme Centres were, in priority order:

experience and performance;

knowledge of customer groups and their needs;

knowledge and experience of working with employers;

knowledge and experience of the district/region;

involvement and links with local organisations;

proposals for delivery;

organisation infrastructure, management and capacity;

human resource;

quality standards and evaluation;

implementation plan to delivery;

premises and facilities;

record keeping and administration;

marketing and referrals

Bids for all our contracts are evaluated by qualified procurement professionals strictly on their merits; there is no presumption in favour of large organisations over smaller ones.

Jobcentre Plus actively encourages an innovative and competitive marketplace and works with larger providers to ensure that they understand the need to achieve diversity in the service delivery for all of our provision, including Programme Centres. To ensure that optimum use is made of the specialist services offered by smaller providers we facilitate the interface between contractors and sub-contractors through a variety of means, including discussions with trade associations, and notices placed on the Jobcentre Plus website www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk (Partners page).

As part of the tender evaluation process, we ask bidders to tell us how they will fully meet the varied needs of all customers; it is generally unlikely that any one provider could adequately demonstrate their ability to meet all of these needs without some specialist support. We also ask providers to give details of all their sub-contractors in their tenders and we take into account the skills and experience of the sub-contractors during the tender assessment process.

I hope this is helpful.