4 February 2015

Skills Training UK first to achieve

Skills Training UK has been awarded an ‘Excellent’ overall rating for the quality of its supply chain management in its assessment for the Merlin Standard Accreditation. It is the only Prime Contractor to be accredited with ‘Excellent’, achieving 86%, the highest score out of all the 2012 assessments.

Skills Training UK’s open and honest culture, clear set of values, ability to consult with Partners and listen to feedback, extensive collaborative working, passion and commitment to making contracts successful, are included in a list of strengths in the Merlin Assessment Report. Effective policies and processes for due diligence, extensive partner training and support, proactive communications and a high level of commitment to equality and diversity are also praised highly.

Julia Sweeney, Department for Work and Pensions’ Contracted Customer Services Director and Chair of the Merlin Standard Advisory Board, said: “I am pleased to congratulate Skills Training UK for this notable accomplishment. I am sure that it will encourage prime contractors and supply chain partners alike to embrace the Merlin Standard, helping to spread good practice in supply chains.”

The intensive Merlin Assessment undertaken by emqc Ltd took place over 12 days in December 2012 and included interviews with 21 Supply Chain Partners and employees directly involved in delivering Progress!, which Skills Training UK developed for the European Social Fund 2011-13 Support for Troubled Families programme. Supply Chain Partners for Skills Training UK’s new Youth Contracts delivery were also interviewed.

Kirsty McHugh, Merlin Standard Advisory Board member and Chief Executive of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), said: “ERSA, as the trade body for employment service providers, is delighted that Skills Training UK has achieved such a high score under Merlin. It is areally impressive result, indicating a strong commitment to excellence in supply chain management.”

The Department for Work and Pensions required all its Prime Contractors for the European Social Fund 2011-13 Support for Troubled Families programme to undertake the assessment against the Merlin standard in the interests of developing and supporting healthy and high quality supply chains.

Commenting on the successful Merlin assessment, Martin Dunford OBE, Chief Executive at Skills Training UK, said: “Skills Training UK is driven by the genuine desire to improve the quality of life for the individuals in the communities where we work. Developing and supporting effective and trustworthy partnerships in our supply chain underpins this goal and we are very pleased with the Merlin Standard Accreditation.”

In all, the interviews covered a representative sample of 80% of the delivery network for the Progress! programme and 46% of Skills Training UK’s Supply Chain Partners for its Youth Contracts projects for the Education Funding Agency.

Detailed analysis was also undertaken of IT systems and processes, marketing, emails and the written information and guidance provided to the supply chain. Partners confirmed that the very clear documentation enabled them to understand what is expected of them at each stage of the contract.

Dave Allan, Managing Director at emqc Ltd, which carried out the assessment on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, said of the achievement: “Lorna Bainbridge, the Lead Assessor appointed by emqc to assess Skills Training UK against the Merlin Standard, has awarded them the highest overall score achieved so far, setting a benchmark for the sector in the way it designs and manages supply chains with private, public and third sector organisations.”

The Merlin Standard Assessment report has been published in full at: http://www.merlinstandard.co.uk/merlin-accredited-organisations.php

See here for news about the achievement as reported by Merlin

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