NPC’s main recommendations in relation to this consultation are as follows:
- A greater focus on intermediate outcomes, measuring provider performance based on their success in bringing people closer to the labour market.
- Finer categorisation of the Work Programme’s clients, on the basis of their specific need. This will help to improve performance measurement, promote the value of specialist providers in supply chains and ensure that providers focus on all groups, including those furthest from the labour market.
- More local commissioning and procurement. This will help to ensure that DWP’s commissioning makes proper use of providers with local and thematic specialisms.
- Protecting smaller providers. The current system heavily favours larger providers, with large amounts of working capital and the ability to adhere to strict timescales. If the system remains in its current form, it is important that steps are taken to create a level playing field for smaller providers.
- Openness to different methods and mechanisms. The structure of the Work Programme and the payment by results mechanism carry significant risks. We recommend that these approaches are carefully considered in comparison to other approaches that are considered to have been effective, such as the Future Jobs Fund.
- Improving process and practice regarding Open Data. Collecting data at a more granular level, relating to lower tier providers, will ensure that the impact of these providers is fully recognised by primes. Data should also be collected on the basis of clearly defined client groups, to ensure that performance is measured according to providers’ abilities to achieve better outcomes across the board.