DWP have published a Prior Information Notice (PIN) for the new Work & Health Programme, the new provision which will replace The Work Programme and Work Choice in England and Wales. PINs are an EU procurement tool used to notify potential suppliers of impending competitions. The PIN suggests that the provision could be worth around £120m per year through to 2020/21, which would represent a significant downsizing of the core employability market in financial terms. The number of available contracts, or specific CPA boundaries, has not yet been confirmed.

The PIN suggests that DWP will adopt a new accreditation process for prime providers, who will be subject to a new Supplier Accreditation and Passporting (SAaP) process to demonstrate that they possess the required mandatory delivery capabilities, including financial capacity. The SAaP accreditation, which will be administered via DWP’s bravo portal, will determine the maximum contract values which each accredited provider could be awarded, with a SAaP accreditation period lasting 12 months. This is, in essence, an alternative model to previous PQQs and frameworks previously applied by DWP.

DWP will be holding market engagement events in London and Birmingham later in May to explain the new accreditation process, and how the Work & Health Programme competition will be run. Features of previous DWP competitions, including the requirement of parent company guarantees and data security compliance, are referenced in the PIN. The PIN also eludes to the possibility of reverse auctions forming part of the pricing competition.

The PIN suggests that the Work & Health Programme tendering will commence at the end of September 2016, suggesting that the SAaP process will be opened over the summer months. The full PIN and associated details, including registration details for the market engagement events, can be accessed via the DWP bravo portal.