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Ofsted - Managing DWP Contracts

Ofsted have published a thematic report on the management of DWP contracts by prime contractors.  The Managing DWP Contracts report included survey visits to 10 prime contractors who had been judged good in leadership and management at their last inspection to identify successful practice.  

The report opens with an introduction that infers that it is only since April 2008 when the DWP commissioning strategy changed that top-tier providers were introduced to manage contracts.  Yes … we know that sub contracting arrangements have been in place since New Deal began (and before that) but clearly DWP and Ofsted think it’s something new!

We never cease to be amazed by the basic common sense approaches that impress Ofsted, which is potentially a lesson in itself.  Common sense is often hard to come by, so remember that simple is often effective, so don’t over complicate your systems!

The press release for the report cites one instance where there were standard policies, procedures and QA systems across all subcontractors with a management structure based around a formal monthly meeting covering standard agenda items, a twice yearly formal contract review, and ad hoc observation visits.   However there are many other examples which may just prompt providers to look at different aspects of their sub contractor management systems to make improvements, so this short report is worth a read.

One recommendation of the survey report is for DWP to consider commissioning a common management information system for prime contractors to use with their subcontractors. Maybe anyone with recent PRaP experience won’t think this is SUCH a good idea!


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