Before Christmas, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) began the competition for Probation Delivery Partners who will be responsible for delivering accredited programmes, unpaid work and structured interventions – read more about this in my last blog. They also ran a series of market engagement webinars on the services they plan to commission through the Dynamic Framework – read the slides from those webinars here.
This blog provides an update on what stage those commissioning processes are at.
During the Dynamic Framework market engagement, Clinks provided regular feedback from the sector on the proposals. We welcomed the decision to commission services at Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) area level following our feedback that commissioning services across whole probation areas would likely exclude the involvement of the majority of the sector. We were also very pleased that following discussions with Clinks and the women’s sector regarding proposals for women’s specialist services, all areas of identified need will now be commissioned as a single contract lot for women.
Below is an update from HMPPS on the stage that each competition has now reached:
Probation Delivery Partner
The Selection Questionnaire phase of the Probation Delivery Partner competition is now completed. This is the questionnaire issued by contracting authorities to prospective bidders interested in securing public sector works, supply or services contracts as a way of short-listing interested parties which meet the applicable selection criteria. Bidders have been informed whether or not they have been successful and successful bidders were issued invitations to tender on 6 February and bid responses are due by 20 March.
Following feedback from Market Engagement events with interested suppliers, HMPPS have amended their proposed categories on the Dynamic Framework. They will run competitions for services at Police and Crime Commissioner geographical level in the following groups:
2. Education, Training, Employment and Finance, Benefits, Debt
3. Dependency and Recovery (previously named Addictions and Dependencies)
4. Wellbeing Services (which is made up of the following categories; Lifestyle & Associates, Emotional & Personal Wellbeing, Family & Significant Others, Social Inclusion)
5. Women’s Interventions (which meet the needs identified above in one package)
They anticipate launching qualification for the dynamic framework in May. They are taking more time before launch to identify and assess the regional requirements at of National Probation Service Regional Directors for each lot described above.
Ahead of launching the Dynamic Framework and during the qualification for the framework, they will run a series of engagement events across the country, to raise awareness to the widest possible range of potential providers, and answer questions on the qualification process.
In addition they will inform the market of the call-off competition pipeline and continue market engagement to provide more information on the specification for each call-off.
Continuing to influence on behalf of the sector
We remain in regular contact with the probation review team as they develop plans for the Dynamic Framework and have offered support to provide knowledge and intelligence from the voluntary sector to engage with their work to identify and assess regional requirements in each lot. We are also in discussions about how we might support the engagement events when the Dynamic Framework is launched in order to ensure that the voluntary sector is fully able to participate in these.
We continue to highlight that grants are essential to the voluntary sector’s full engagement with any future probation model. We are also providing feedback on where the commissioning processes might be overly burdensome and present an uneven playing field for the sector – for instance with regards to IT assurance requirements.
We also continue to raise significant concerns that specialist services for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people are not being considered as a day one service (the services that will be commissioned directly by HMPPS from day one of implementation of the new model). We understand that this is because in some areas BAME service user numbers will be very low. However, we feel that in order to meet the Lammy Review recommendations, in both their letter and spirit, specific services for BAME people should be commissioned as day one services at least in areas with high BAME caseloads. Otherwise specialist BAME organisations will only find themselves commissioned as sub-contractors in wider supply chains, if at all.