VONNE calls on DWP to reimburse £400,000 to VCSE sector

VONNE CEO Carol Botten has told Tyne Tees that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should reimburse North East organisations who are owed over £400,000 from the collapse of Working Links.

Working Links owned three 'community rehabilitation companies' with responsibility for probation services in the North East before going into administration in February 2019.

Although the Permitted Subcontractors of Working Links will be financially protected by the Ministry of Justice, other sub-contractors, including voluntary sector organisations, who were engaged in the Working Links DWP contract are being left out of pocket, despite bearing no responsibility for the failings which led to collapse.

Groundwork, Finchale, Changing Lives, Gateshead Council and Northern Rights are owed a total of £419,000.

Carol Botten told Tyne Tees:

"The DWP state they want supply chains to be more diverse including greater use of SMEs and VCSE sector organisations, and a focus on strengthening the management of key suppliers, managing performance, relationships and risks. And yet this situation points at them failing to effectively manage the contract, and in doing so creating significant financial losses for the sub-contractors, four of which are charitable organisations and one a local authority.  VONNE calls upon the DWP to do the moral thing and re-imburse the sub-contractors who find themselves at significant loss at no fault of their own".

The interview will be televised on Monday 3rd June at 6pm and will be available on catch up through the Tyne Tees website.