At Clinks we have been receiving an increasing amount of enquiries at the office, through our local development team, and through our TR Legal Support Helpline about the third round of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) Co-Financing Organisation's (CFO) funding called the 'Operational Programme' (see their website here). This funding programme runs from 2014 - 2020 and is intended to "help offenders move towards mainstream provision or into employment by addressing their barriers to work through facilitating access to comprehensive support mechanisms appropriate to their individual circumstance and assessed need".
In the past few months quite a lot of activity has been taking place to notify potential bidders, and to encourage organisations to fill out an Expression of Interest (EOI) form. Many of the same bidders (Tier 1) that are bidding into the Ministry of Justice's Transforming Rehabilitation programme have been looking to bid for this programme as well. We have advertised this fund a number of times in Light Lunch as well, but felt that we should place some more information here.
I recommend that you visit Contracts Finder to view the notice here. This is where you will be able to view all the documents related to the tendering of this programme. The fund is moving at a pace now, with a formal Invitation To Tender (ITT) stage due to commence in August, with the evaluation of the first ITT in September/October. The intention is that NOMS CFO will have awarded contracts for delivery by March 2015.
Funds are available in all English regions, not in Wales. The funding allocation is different in every region and looks like this:
- North East £8,535,577
- North West £18,358,652
- Yorkshire & Humberside £13,722,646
- East Midlands £13,444,587
- West Midlands £13,591,200
- East of England £11,225,168
- South East £16,267,309
- London £11,656,581
- South West (excluding Cornwall) £8,478,280
You will be pleased to hear that the expression of interest form is simple, yet you'll need to have completed this very soon if you haven't already; you can find the form on the Contracts Finder link above. The process itself is very similar to Transforming Rehabilitation, with larger organisations acting as prime, lead, or Tier 1 bidders who then develop a supply chain of organisations to deliver the service. As a great deal of market engagement has already commenced (events held in June) I would recommend that you visit the NOMS CFO webpage and download the 'expression of interest database' which is an Excel spreadsheet that lists all of the 223 organisations that have currently expressed an interest, where they are bidding, and full contact information.
The most recent announcement by NOMS CFO on this programme was the publication of an 'ethical walls register' to ensure that organisations bidding declare their intent to avoid any conflict of interest during the bidding process.
So, if you run services that help people into employment I would recommend that you look into this. If you want more information then please contact ESF.MoJProcurement@noms.gsi.gov.uk with any further questions. There are also a few useful PowerPoint presentations, and an FAQ document, that provide some more detail which you can access online here: NOMS CFO Round 3.