(2) what changes have been made to the timetable for the tendering process for providers bidding for Flexible New Deal contracts; and if he will make a statement;
(3) when he plans to publish the list of the preferred bidders for the Flexible New Deal contracts; and if he will make a statement.
[holding answer 23 February 2009]: There are no current plans to meet with bidders for flexible new deal contracts.
We wrote to bidders for flexible new deal contracts on 11 February, to provide them with the information we had planned to give them at a meeting on 6 February, which did not take place due to adverse weather conditions.
We have notified providers that, by the time phase 1 contracts start in October 2009, we now believe customer volumes will be higher than those published in the invitation to tender (ItT). To enable us to jointly consider the impact and options to address the financial challenges in the initial phase of the contract, there will be a short pause in the competition. We remain committed to beginning delivery of flexible new deal from October and will inform bidders who have been shortlisted in April, with contracts being awarded by the end of May 2009.
[holding answer 23 February 2009]: DWP will retain a performance and payment regime based largely on outcomes, providing shortlisted bidders with the opportunity to develop innovative, individually tailored solutions. Our expectation is to have a funding model based on 80 per cent. (outcome) and 20 per cent. (fee based) as originally announced. However, in the initial phase of the contract (first 18 months), we will consider alternative models based on a higher service fee element.
(2) what estimate he has made for the purposes of the Flexible New Deal contract of the number of people who will have been out of work for more than 12 months by October 2009; and if he will make a statement.
[holding answer 23 February 2009]: The Department does not forecast future long-term unemployment or the future number of claimants of jobseeker’s allowance.
The Government remain committed to bringing forward the flexible new deal and on 30 January 2009 a letter was issued to shortlisted bidders in the flexible new deal competition to help them draw up plans that are capable of withstanding a wide range of possible developments in the labour market over the next three to five years. This includes the possibility that customer volumes by the time phase 1 contracts go live in October 2009 could be up to 300 per cent. higher than those published in the original invitation to tender. A copy of the letter has been placed in the Library.
[holding answer 23 February 2009]: We have written to suppliers that had been shortlisted and had subsequently withdrawn from the Flexible New Deal competition, advising them that by the time Phase 1 contracts start in October 2009 we now believe customer volumes will be higher than those published in the Invitation to Tender (ItT). We have invited them to reconsider their decision to withdraw from the competition and submit a full tender should they now wish to bid.