Magazine article Public Finance

DWP Rejects Jobseeker 'Mega-Contractor' Idea

Magazine article Public Finance

DWP Rejects Jobseeker 'Mega-Contractor' Idea

Article excerpt

Gordon Brown's new ministerial team has ditched plans to create 'mega-contractors' that would enjoy lucrative regional monopolies in the forthcoming privatisation of jobseeker programmes.

Caroline Flint, the new welfare reform minister, confirmed this week that she has rejected plans to empower 11 monopoly contractors - Scotland, Wales and nine English regions - to co-ordinate individualised jobseeker services. These would be provided for the long-term unemployed, lone parents and millions of incapacity benefit claimants.

She indicated that the Department for Work and Pensions could instead opt for a different, 'prime contractor' system, possibly with a localised focus on tailored services.

The regional monopoly proposal had formed part of investment banker David Freud's review of welfare-to-work polices, commissioned by former work and pensions secretary John Hutton and published in March.

Freud suggested creating a multibillion pound jobseekers' market, with the government's Jobcentre Plus agency looking after short-term benefit claimants, with tailored support to the long-term unemployed provided by private and voluntary sector specialists.

In a welfare green paper published last week Brown's team accepted the part-privatisation of Jobcentre Plus services. …

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