DWP Specialist Employability Support Tender (deadline 17 February 2015)

DWP Specialist Employability Support Tender (deadline 17 February 2015)

The DWP is currently procuring at a national level a Specialist Employability Support (SES) tender, which is voluntary (as opposed to mandated) provision aimed only at customers whose barriers to work are too complex for them to benefit immediately from larger-scale employment programmes (Work Programme and Work Choice).

The objective of SES will be to provide customers with the highest barriers to work with the employability skills that they need to engage with other support and enter employment.

The provision will be for National delivery (England, Scotland and Wales) and include 6 contracts -running from Sept 2015 until 31st August 2017.

  • Lot 1 – Sensory Impairment – Visual: one contract to be awarded.
  • Lot 2 – Sensory Impairment – Hearing: one contract.
  • Lot 3 – Pan-Disability, to also include visual and hearing impairments: four contracts.

The SES programme will support individuals with the most severe barriers to work, who are facing a range of disabilities and health conditions and are furthest from the labour market, such as:

  • not being ready to access mainstream Work Programme or Work Choice provision;
  • facing multiple disabilities – therefore encountering more complex labour market entry needs
  • those who have recently acquired an impairment and as a result lost a job, and require re-training and support to enable re-entry, and
  • those with deteriorating existing conditions

The provision is designed to support unemployed disabled adults through a combination of guidance; work placements and work experience in order to progress into and sustain employment or self-employment.

SES will consist of two types of flexible and tailored support options:

  • SES Start Back for those who do not feel immediately able to access employment, but who, with a short defined period of support, could enter another programme (such as Work Choice and Work Programme), or enter work
  • SES Intensive Employability Support for individuals requiring more fundamental, specialist support. Provision length will be longer (up to two years), and needs to be flexible depending on individual needs.

A range of prime contractors are currently seeking partners for their bids (e.g. Shaw Trust, Remploy, Working Links, etc.) so we thought we should alert VOLA members and wider networks to this opportunity.  If you are interested in securing a position in any of their supply chains, please contact them directly. If you don’t have a direct contact, Google them as most of them have an online EOI process and you tend to be able to get them on the web.

Please note: the clue is in the name!  SES is highly specialist provision so we would expect only providers with key specialisms in working visual and hearing impaired people and others with complex disabilities to apply.

Slides from a recent DWP market engagement event are available here

Procurement Timetable

Activity Procurement Timetable
Prior information Notice 12 December 2014
Supplier Event 15 January 2014
ITT issued 28 January 2015
ITT returned 17 February 2015
Evaluate tenders By 2 March 2015
Internal Governance / Ministerial Approval By 20 March 2015
Announcement of preferred bidders 23 March 2015
Standstill Period 24 March – 2 April 2015
Contracts signed 7 April 2015
Contract go-live 1 September 2015
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