Employment Support

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 4th October 2017.

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Photo of Jamie Hepburn Jamie Hepburn Scottish National Party

That issue was critical for me in allowing a wider range of suppliers. There has been significant engagement over a long period—it started several years ago—to get to the position that we are in. We have engaged through a number of public events and through the Scottish Government’s website to make people aware of the opportunity to participate in the procurement process. Through that engagement, the third sector employability forum expressed concern about the length of time that we had allowed for people to tender. Having heard that concern, we extended the period in which people could tender for the service.

I have been responsive to that concern. We did all that we could to ensure that specialist providers in local areas could take part in the procurement process. That is partly why we put in place nine contract package areas. My clear view is that, if we were under the work and health programme, which is administered by the DWP, it is very likely that Scotland would now be one contract package area. That would have given local organisations virtually no chance whatever of being able to tender.