Published 16th May 2019, 12:16pm
Today the Ministry of Justice has published the response to its consultation on the future of probation services, entitled Strengthening probation, building confidence. Overall, Clinks welcomes the response and announcement that from Spring 2021 all offender management will become the responsibility of the National Probation Service. Clinks called for the system to be simplified in this way in our recommendations published in April.
This blog gives you the top five things voluntary organisations working in the criminal justice need to know. Clinks will publish further analysis soon.
1) The National Probation Service will have responsibility for offender management
Probation services will be unified and the National Probation Service (NPS), operating in 11 regions across England and Wales will have responsibility for all offender management for people deemed low, medium and high risk. Advice to court will continue to be delivered by the NPS.
The NPS will be expressly required to source all services including Unpaid Work, Accredited Programmes and other resettlement and rehabilitative interventions from voluntary and private sector providers. The anticipated spend is £280m a year.
2) Voluntary organisations as ‘innovation partners’ for unpaid work and accredited programmes
In each of the 11 NPS regions there will be an ‘innovation partner’ from either the voluntary or private sector who will be responsible for direct provision of unpaid work and accredited programmes. They will also have a role in supporting the NPS to identify and deliver ‘wider innovation’.
3) A ‘dynamic framework’ for commissioning resettlement and rehabilitation
To encourage and support the direct participation of smaller voluntary sector organisations in the delivery of resettlement and rehabilitation activities services the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) will procure these services through a ‘dynamic framework.’ This will operate as an open panel of suppliers, who can be admitted to the panel at any point, subject to a qualification process (based on experience and capabilities). Eligible panel members will be invited to participate in mini-competitions for the services required.
The MoJ is conducting market engagement events in May to design and develop the dynamic framework system for rehabilitation and resettlement services. It will be “designed to suit the needs of the different commissioning bodies” and therefore might be different from the Prison Education Dynamic Purchasing System that is currently in use.
4) Each NPS region in England will be overseen by a Regional Probation Director
In England, each of the NPS regions will be overseen by a Regional Probation Director who will provide strategic leadership and be responsible for the overall delivery and commissioning of probation services. The Regional Probation Director will use the dynamic framework to commission services at either a regional or local level. Alongside their senior leadership team and Local Delivery Units, they will have a clear responsibility for strengthening engagement in local and regional partnerships, including Police and Crime Commissioners, local authorities and health commissioners.
The recruitment of Regional Directors for all the regions is planned to take place during 2019 with the aim that these roles be confirmed by the end of year.
In Wales, the Executive Director for Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service in Wales already has responsibility for all probation services and prisons in Wales and this will remain unchanged.
5) The MoJ is running market and stakeholder engagement events
A series of market and stakeholder engagement will be held, beginning in May 2019 for the MoJ to finalise its proposals. This will include how services will be packaged within competitions, and to set out further detail on the service design for future services.
A competition process for ‘innovation partners’ to deliver Unpaid Work and Accredited Programmes will be launched later in the year, alongside the dynamic framework. The market share cap is still to be determined.
Clinks is extremely pleased that the Ministry of Justice has listened to the views of the voluntary sector and considered Clinks’ trackTR research in order to inform its future plans. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the MoJ and HMPPS to ensure that, this time around, the opportunity of these reforms is properly realised for the voluntary sector. This will need to include utilisation of the full range of funding mechanisms appropriate for small, local organisations as well as the larger providers in our sector; arrangements within each of the 11 National Probation Service areas to ensure that appropriately local and specialised services are available and a commitment to ensuring that specialist services for people protected under the Equality Act (2010) are properly supported and resourced.
Look out for further analysis from Clinks and what these proposals mean for the voluntary sector.