42. Letter dated 26 February 2009, from Kitty Ussher MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions

 

At our recent appearance before the Committee on 9th February, Maria Eagle and I promised to provide the Committee with further information on PSA Delivery Agreement 8, Access to Work and the Procurement Pilots. This information can be found in the attached Annex A.

 

Annex A

 

Measurement of progress on PSA8, PSA Delivery Agreement 8: Maximise employment opportunity for all (Q164-Q167)

 

The approach to measuring progress on PSA8 for the CSR07 period is set out in PSA Delivery Agreement 8 Maximise employment opportunity for all[1], published in December 2008.

Annex A to the Delivery Agreement provides full details about how progress will be measured for each element of the PSA target. Indicator 2 deals with narrowing the gap between the overall employment rate and that of specified disadvantaged groups. For each group, the policy is judged successful if there is 'upward movement on the indicator in excess of sampling variability'. For disabled people this requires an upward movement in the employment rate of at least 1.41 percentage points.

 

Access to Work - Royal Mail Group Operating Agreement (Q198)

 

Access to Work is currently piloting a collaborative way of working with the Royal Mail Group where DWP has entered into an operating agreement aiming to enhance the customer experience of the Royal Mail Group disabled employees, whilst increasing the employer's commitment and financial contribution.

 

A close working relationship, clear communication routes and dedicated national teams have been put in place which have resulted in a streamlined process and simplified working practices.

 

This innovative model has attracted the attention of other national organisations and through our close association with the Employers' Forum on Disabilities we are currently exploring similar agreements with Sainsbury's, Ernst and Young, KPMG and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

 

Access to Work Budget (Q200-Q201)

 

The Access to Work budget is managed within DWP's departmental expenditure limits (DEL). The department manages any variation in demand for Access to Work within these overall limits, taking into account other spending priorities. The Access to Work budget has increased from 14.6 million in 1997/8 to 69 million in 2008/9. In future years, the budget will double to 138 million by 2013/14.

 

Can you tell us what the results were of the Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force race equality procurement pilot in terms of securing equality outcomes? (Q224)

 

The procurement pilots have been set up by the Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force and are ongoing. The Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force is supporting a period of promoting race equality when procuring from private sector suppliers, in a small number of Government departments. The aim of these procurement pilots is, among other things, to enhance race equality in procurement. This will be achieved by increasing the diversity of suppliers and, at the same time, encouraging suppliers to make real changes in their practices.

The pilots are taking place in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Identity and Passport Service (IPS). The contract areas are:

the procurement of training through the New Deal programme in DWP

the provision of Children's Centres in DCSF

the provision of learning and development for the HR department in IPS

 

The qualitative evaluation of the procurement processes implemented in the pilots is currently taking place and will be published at the end of August 2009.

DWP is committed to looking at how procurement can be used as a lever to address inequalities. One of the Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force's project groups focuses on how public sector procurement can be better used to address inequality of outcomes in the labour market.



[1] http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/pbr_csr07_psa8.pdf