3SC Newsletter - March 2012

Interim Chief Executive's Welcome

Welcome to our March newsletter. This month we’ve been reviewing how our new membership database has embedded as the new system will enable us to understand more about our members and registered organisations, so that we are ready to bid for some great contracts this year. Whilst we didn’t procure any new work in the recent Skills Funding Agency bid announcements, you can see from our bid update that we have lots of new ideas and opportunities in the pipeline including the DWP Innovation Fund and the National Offender Management Service (NOMS).
We’d contributed last year to Lord Hodgson’s Task Force enquiry to reduce red tape for civil society organisations, so were pleased to see Nick Hurd’s letter this week, reporting on the progress in implementing some of the recommendations made in the report. We are also pleased with the progress of the Public Services (Social Value) Bill and the greater opportunities this eventual legislation will potentially bring for our sector. The Bill has had its third and final reading at the House of Lords and will shortly become an Act. We are also delighted to announce the arrival this month of our new Delivery Manager, Nicky Robertson-Peek, who brings a wealth of contract management experience. Nicky joins the Operations Team headed up by Director, Eoin Heffernan.

Bid Update 

We are working in partnership with Social Enterprise UK and a range of other organisations to build predominantly civil society consortia and create tenders including DWP Innovation Fund, NOMS CFO Social Enterprise Consortia Building, MoJ PBR Innovation Pilots and GLA ESF Youth Programme.
Our Business Development Team is currently in negotiations with a number of providers to secure subcontracting delivery opportunities across the UK on behalf of our members. All opportunities will be announced on our website.


Progress in the Work Programme

Since our start eight months ago on Work Programme contract management there has been a huge increase in the amount of people that our providers have been managing through the programme. All our providers have made excellent progress in managing and resourcing this unexpectedly high volume of customers, and have been instrumental in finding effective ways to support them to move forward in their search for work.
With a strong emphasis on engaging with new potential employers, many new jobs have now been created. These new opportunities have been mainly in the retail, care, warehousing, security and construction sectors. The focus is now on sustaining customers in their employment through support mechanisms such as in-work training, mentoring and focus groups, which our service providers all have specialist experience in facilitating. We will update in the next issue on their progress as they reap the benefits of this in-work support.

Cabinet Response to 'Unshackling Good Neighbours' Report

We were pleased this week to see the publication of Nick Hurd’s letter to Lord Hodgson about the Office for Civil Society’s progress in implementing the recommendations of the ‘Unshackling Good Neighbours’ Report.
We contributed last year to the original Task Force enquiry into cutting red tape for civil society organisations. We’d emphasised the benefits of delivering services through consortia-working to enable smaller organisations to be part of larger contracts, which the report applauded as ‘an attempt to give a group of small CSO’s a seat at the ‘top table’.  The letter, published this week on the Cabinet Office Website, says that a lot has already happened and also promises an imminent response to the cross-sector feedback on the ‘Open Public Services’ White Paper which we look forward to being published. Click here to see letter. 

Public Services (Social Value) Bill

There has been further progress this month with the Public Services (Social Value) Bill having passed through its third reading in the House of Lords. The Bill is now due to receive Royal Assent and will shortly become law. Having supported the Bill from its early stages we are pleased to see this progress. Martyn Oliver, Interim Chief Executive said, “As an organisation that bids for public sector contracts 3SC welcomes this legislation since it compels commissioners to consider social and environmental impact, alongside value for money, in awarding contracts. These are the outcomes that civil society organisations are expert in achieving high returns in, which in turn builds strong networks and enables sustainability for local communities.”

Chris White, MP, said, “I am delighted to see that the Bill has now passed and will shortly become an Act of Parliament. This has been a long process but I believe that the Bill has been worth the effort, as it will help thousands of community organisations, charities and social enterprises to win and deliver public service contracts.
The Bill will, I hope, help to start a culture change in the public sector and ensure that we consider the full value of the services that we use, utilise the best that civil society has to offer and maximise the use of public money.”

New 3SC Membership Database

Over the past couple of months, all 3SC registered organisations will have received new login details for our new database. The 3SC database has been more efficiently designed in accordance with our aim to support members in the gathering of clear information for 3SC bids and will further enhance our work in developing strong and relevant supply chains for impactful service delivery. Once you log into the database you can update all your organisational details including your areas of interest and specialism. We will then be able to contact you directly with relevant new bid opportunities.
The more information that you provide us with, the more easily we can identify how your organisation’s service provision fits with future bid opportunities. It is therefore worth investing some time now in giving a more detailed picture of your interests. Once you have updated your information it will be stored so you will not have to provide us with this again, and you can revisit the database at any time to update your records. Please get in touch with us if you are already registered with 3SC but haven’t received any new log-in details. If you are interested in registering with us for the first time you can do so by clicking here.