Working Links partnerships

Access our extensive network

to provide a superior service

Support each customer individually

We have a streamlined, robust and varied supply chain

Delivering employment and skills services

in partnership with you


As a prime provider we are effective in understanding, designing and mobilising the funder’s requirements into a creative and sustainable service delivery model. This incorporates complex supply chains, working together to provide a seamless transition in supporting customers into sustainable outcomes.

We realise different products and services are required to support our varying customer needs. Because of this, we have tiered the supply base to clearly reflect the needs of our customers across the four key groups: employers, programme participants, funding bodies and stakeholders.

We will have:

  • end to end partners – delivering the full service model to our customers
  • specialist partners – key national or regional specialists delivering targeted support interventions to customers
  • spot purchase providers – delivering a range of provision services to customers

We will build an efficient and effective supply chain which ensures we have appropriate partners delivering services across the customer journey. This will include public, private and third sector partners and we will also develop partners to further improve the service to customers.
A significant proportion of our delivery will be through partners to:

  • reduce risk
  • improve the service to customers
  • reflect the needs of our funders
  • promote innovation and the sharing of best practice

We recognise that the that the third sector is critical in meeting some of the specialist service needs of our customers which often aren’t provided by either the public or private sector. We are committed to working with our third sector supply base to help develop their skills and capabilities to support more and more customers to achieve the desired outcomes.  

In designing our commissioning strategy we have aimed to ensure we can achieve the following:

  • Recognise and promote the unique and diverse needs of our customer base and ensure our partner network is capable of meeting this challenge.
  • Create a flexible, dynamic and robust supply chain which is capable of meeting the changing needs of the labour market and the individual customer.
  • Facilitation of a rigorous selection process to determine the most appropriate organisations to help us support customers into the desired outcomes (sustainable employment, resettlement, vocational skills and so on).
  • Gain agreement from partners before we include them in our bids.
  • The principles of the Merlin Standard and Workings Links' own Quality Standards are included to give open and transparent processes and controls throughout the partner lifecycle.
  • Working Links and the partner network operate with a high degree of ethical integrity in both commercial practice and their interactions with the customer and their supply chain. Such ethical integrity covers all aspects of equality and diversity.
  • Development of a healthy supplier base that drives towards competition and mutually beneficial commercial arrangements, sharing best practice.
  • Support of the supply chain through effective communication across the partner network, covering areas such as risk, opportunity, customer feedback and performance monitoring – providing the basis for innovation and continuous improvement.
  • Create a supply chain with flexibility to deal with risk. Effective risk management which demands a culture of openness and transparency, where risks can be identified and managed appropriately.
  • Leveraging the expertise and knowledge across our partner network to provide collective insight to help to inform government policy and improve the range and depth of services we can offer.
  • Embedding sustainable procurement principles throughout our partner network both in the way in which we source services for operational delivery but also in understanding the impact that our partners are having on the environment and their commitments to Corporate Responsibility.

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