Carley Consult is reporting that DWP has awarded the new concession agreement for the delivery of the Merlin Standard Assessment, Accreditation and Web Portal Service to emqc Ltd.
emqc already deliver other existing assessment services, including the matrix standard on behalf of BIS which pertains to Information, Advice and Guidance services.
The new concession agreement was awarded through a competitive tender process. Bidders firstly had to achieve a minimum quality threshold score, with the primary criteria for award of the contract then being the cheapest price charged to providers per assessment.
The 18 Prime Contractors of DWP’s Work Programme will be contractually subject to mandatory Merlin Standard assessment prior to June 2012, the first anniversary of their contracts. With a maximum lead time of 90 days from the point of application to the completion of assessment, this will mean that Work Programme providers will be expected to submit their self-assessment applications by March at the latest.
The parameters for assessment were set by DWP during the tender process. Evidence from subcontractors will be reviewed, with a maximum of 20 subcontractors being interviewed from across each prime contractors total supply chain, irrespective of the number of contracts held, or geographical coverage of provision.
The Merlin Standard was designed and tested by Carley Consult on a pilot basis over the past two years. Deborah Tillett, Head of Continuous Improvement at Carley Consult said: “We are very proud of the work that we have done on behalf of DWP in developing the Merlin Standard, and have been very appreciative of the positive support and feedback we have received from the Department and Industry providers alike. There is a clear perception already that the pilot has helped improve industry supply chain practice for the better. We hope that the new arrangements will continue this trend, and build productively on the overall success of the pilot. In this respect we are looking forward to working with our clients to help enhance their supply chain systems and practices.”
Source: Carley Consult