David Ruffley MP tackles Minister on small charities

Thursday, 28 October, 2010

David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds, received an assurance from Chris Grayling MP, Minister of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, that a payment by results system would be designed with the protection of smaller charities in mind, as they are essential to the Government's, and his own, views on the Big Society.

Mr David Ruffley (Bury St Edmunds) (Con): I applaud the payment by results model: it has worked in America and Australia, and it will work here. May I draw my right hon. Friend's attention to the Department for Work and Pensions website of 19 July, where he makes the point that results have to be delivered before any payment is made? Lots of small charities that I have spoken to up and down the country say that that will mean that they simply do not bid for contracts, even if they are part of a consortium with a big corporate player. What will my right hon. Friend do to design a system to protect the interests of the smaller charities that are so important for the big society?

Chris Grayling: May I say what a great pleasure it is to have a question from my hon. Friend, and to see him in his place?

We are doing everything we can to ensure that the systems in place are suitable to ensure we have a mix of organisations. We have launched a specific new code of conduct for prime contractors-the Merlin standard-that is designed to ensure that they look after the commercial interests of smaller organisations on the framework, or that are working with framework providers. It is essential that we have a proper mix of organisations involved in the Work programme and we will take all the steps we can to ensure that that is the case.