Jim Barton, HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) Senior Responsible Officer for the Probation Reform Programme outlines changes being made to Probation Service commissioning, including proposed processes for awarding grants and improvements to the Dynamic Framework, in response to feedback from the voluntary sector.
Firstly, a big thank you to Clinks for its report into the voluntary sector’s experience of probation reform. Procuring the initial rehabilitative services to support the new unified Probation Service came with both successes and challenges, and we welcome the insights into the sector’s experiences and the various recommendations.
In this blog I outline the key changes and activities we are undertaking in response to those recommendations.
Proposed process for awarding grants
One of the key recommendations from both Clinks’ report and Richard Oldfield’s review was to increase the use of grants to support charities and other not-for-profit organisations who already are, or could be, supporting people on probation on their journey of desistance from offending. HMPPS Director General of Probation, Amy Rees, committed last year that we would increase the use of grants, so I am delighted to now launch our draft process for awarding grants for your feedback.
The document outlines a general approach to grants by the Probation Service, but this first version is also particularly focused on a proposed national Probation Service grant scheme for support for people with shared protected characteristics or shared experiences (eg. Care leavers or ex-armed service personnel) and general support to encourage desistance from offending. The scheme will be funded through the Probation Service’s Regional Outcomes and Innovation Fund and we hope to launch it in Summer 2022. Closer to the time, we will publish further information via Clinks and via our Jaggaer e-sourcing portal about the upcoming competitions and how to apply.
We really want to hear your views about the proposed grant process before we launch the first grants, as we want to try to make the process as smooth as possible. Your thoughts on this are vital to us getting it right. Details on how you can share your feedback are included at the end of this blog.
Improvements to the Probation Dynamic Framework
The Dynamic Framework is the structure through which we have and will continue to be awarding contracts for rehabilitation services. I’m pleased to provide an update on both the actions that we have already taken in response to Clinks’ and Richard Oldfield’s reviews and our plans for further improvements in how we procure contracts for Probation Services through the Dynamic Framework.
As with all new processes, we recognise that there is always room to make things simpler and more accessible. For those of you that have taken part in any of the more recent Dynamic Framework competitions since unification of the Probation Service, you’ll hopefully have noticed streamlined documentation, quicker procurement timelines, enhanced communication with us and overall a reduced burden on bidders.
So far we have:
- Streamlined documentation and removed unnecessary jargon, whilst adapting our approach to market engagement to reflect the size and scale of our competitions
- Provided a dedicated team to provide individual support to organisations looking to qualify and onboard onto the Dynamic Framework.
- Developed a simplified version of our Selection Questionnaire with additional guidance
- Simplified tender documents
- Held workshops and developed materials to support organisations to improve their cyber security to enable them to access MoJ systems and data (see below for details of upcoming workshops).
In future we will:
- Work with Clinks in order to create video content and guidance which will span the entirety of the procurement and commissioning process, from how to onboard to hints and tips on bid writing and completing financial models for services.
- Develop future commissioning plans to advise you on upcoming opportunities for grants or contracts
- Continue to work with you and Clinks to improve our engagement with you.
We want to continue to work with you to improve how we commission and fund services to support people to desist from offending and I hope that this update demonstrates that we are listening to and acting on your feedback.
Tell us your views on the Probation Service’s proposed process for awarding grants
To find out more about our proposed grants process, visit this Probation Service web page, or:
- Read the document here
- Sign up to attend an HMPPS information session on the process [9 May, 12.30pm-2pm]
To provide feedback:
- Complete the HMPPS feedback survey by 23:55 on Sunday 22 May
- Join a Clinks online focus group to share your views [12 May, 1pm-2.30pm] (express your interest here by 5pm on 5 May)
(Depending on numbers interested, we may not be able to accommodate everyone but Clinks will review applications to ensure we have as wide as possible representation of different types and sizes of organisations.)
We hope that we have made the grants process as simple as possible but we look forward to hearing your thoughts for improvements. In the future, we will of course continue to listen to your experiences of what worked well and what could be improved.
Supporting smaller organisations to improve their cyber security
For those organisations who are interested in improving their cyber security, HMPPS will be holding two cyber-security overview sessions on 25 May 2022: one for organisations with an annual income of less than £100,000, and another for organisations with an annual income of £100,000. You can sign up using the following links.
- 25 May 9.30am-11am (annual income under £100k): https://bit.ly/3rHoceb
- 25th May 1.30pm-3pm (annual income over £100k): https://bit.ly/3v0lHpC
Future sessions will be offered in response to demand.
Cover photo - Community Justice Scotland - Volunteers and staff from Apex Scotland at a workshop in Inverness