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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he has taken to ensure Prime Contractors to the Work programme are using the Compact with the voluntary sector in their discussions with subcontractors from the voluntary sector; and if he will make a statement.
The principles of the Compact have been taken forward through the Code of Conduct which underpins the DWP Commissioning Strategy. These principles are further embedded through the Merlin Standard which all Work programme providers are required to achieve as a condition of their contracts. Merlin assessments will take place from spring 2012 and biannually thereafter.
The Merlin Standard will require that all subcontractors are treated fairly in their dealings with Prime Contractors and that supply chains remain robust and healthy. Primes that do not fulfil their obligations will be subject to action for breach of contract and may lose their contracts.