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Merlin Standard: A code of excellence to ensure fairness in Supply Chain contracts

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Thu, 15/03/2012

The Assessment and Accreditation Service for the Merlin Standard - the code of excellence in Supply Chain Management - was launched on 15 March 2012 by Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society at Cabinet Office, and Chris Grayling, Minister for Employment at the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Merlin Standard Assessment and Accreditation Service is to be available to any organisation – within Government as well as the private sector, public or voluntary sectors - managing a supply chain to encourage excellence. It is delivered by emqc Ltd, the new Service Provider who were appointed following a competitive tender.

Assessments commenced in April, with DWP’s Work Programme Prime providers being the first organisations to be assessed between April and 30th June 2012.

The Merlin Standard will ensure smaller contractors, including voluntary organisations, are treated fairly; local organisations delivering the Work Programme as subcontractors will be able to hold prime contractors to account, if they have grounds for complaint.

The development of the Merlin Standard has been progressed as a joint exercise between the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and its providers operating in the Welfare to Work (W2W) sector. There has also been active involvement from other government departments, and from representative organisations within the industry.

This approach mirrors the consultative nature of the way the DWP Commissioning Strategy was developed, including the embedded Code of Conduct (Annex 1 of the Commissioning Strategy). It is the Code of Conduct that the Merlin Standard is specifically seeking to support.

DWP supports the Merlin Standard as a positive means by which it can provide stewardship of the W2W marketplace via a co-regulation approach with present and future providers operating in the sector.

The Merlin Standard has been designed to recognise and promote sustainable excellence and positive partnership working within supply chains and provide guidance to those seeking to achieve it. It is built upon four fundamental and integrated principles: Supply Chain Design, Commitment, Conduct and Review. These Principles have been designed to examine key areas of the relationship between a Prime Contractor (hereafter referred to as ‘Primes’) and its Supply Chain Partners.

Criteria underpinning the principles also seek to review the role of Commissioning, including the procurement process, and how supply chain behaviour is affected by the behaviour of the Commissioner.

The Principles are established to validate positive behaviour of Primes and supply chain partners in line with the Code of Conduct, a key facet of the Commissioning Strategy in creating healthy and high performing supply chains.

Read The Merlin Standard here