In November Clinks began receiving feedback from members in our regular forums, alongside concern from the wider criminal justice voluntary sector regarding the prolonged waiting and deferred action on promised funding decisions from the Ministry of Justice and HMPPS. This concerned those in the process of planning Commissioned Rehabilitative Services (CRS) and began impacting the progress of those awaiting the outcome of the first probation grants programme for racially minoritised organisations, using funding from the Regional Outcomes and Innovation Fund (ROIF), as well as other strategic grants. Therefore, it became pertinent for Clinks to advocate on behalf of the voluntary sector, and Clinks CEO, Anne Fox began engaging with Amy Rees, Chief Executive HMPPS, and Phil Copple, Director General Operations, HMPPS asking for an explanation and exploring actions to move forward with this.
Amy Rees has responded to Clinks (28 March 2023) with the attached letter confirming that departmental spending plans will not be confirmed until the completion of an Efficiency and Savings review, and how this concerns the voluntary sector 2023/2024. The following bullet points outline the key notes of importance within the letter and the subsequent conversation between Clinks and HMPPS on the deferred funding for voluntary organisations, and why it is a matter of great importance that funding for our sector remains committed to.
The cause of the delay is as a result of the HM Treasury-commissioned Efficiency and Savings Review (the ESR review), which will settle departmental spending plans through the identification of possible savings, this review remains ongoing.
This ESR review has resulted in the continued pausing and progression of certain contracts and grant awards until the Ministry of Justice spending settlement is confirmed.
As a result of this, there is an ongoing review – on a case-by-case basis – of existing contracts, particularly those with only a short period of time left, in an attempt to mitigate any concerns.
HMPPS continues to expect a ‘significant level of spend’ on Commissioned Rehabilitative Services (CRS), yet the exact amount – on account of the ESR – will not be finalised until the completion of the ESR review.
Within the overall CRS budget, HMPPS has committed to maintaining the ‘same level of Regional Outcomes and Innovation Fund (ROIF) budget’ that was in place in 2022/23.
This commitment falls below what was expected, as the ROIF budget was expected to rise to £12m.
HMPPS believe that the maintenance of the ROIF fund will enable regions to continue with any grant awards, where possible.
Projecting ahead, HMPPS is ‘actively planning’ for the next round of CRS contracts, and have offered Clinks and the wider sector a briefing session on its plans for the HMPPS and has invited Clinks to join the CRS programme’s steering group to ensure that ‘the voluntary sector has a strong voice in shaping the future design of the service’.
Clinks will continue to engage with HMPPS on the budget and the ESR review's subsequent impact on the criminal justice voluntary sector. Largely we will remain especially concerned on the impact this will have on small and specialist organisations and we encourage those with questions and concerns to send them to Clinks who will raise these at the Commissioning Forum attended by HMPPS, where a discussion on this topic will be facilitated.
Please send questions and concerns to email@example.com
Read Amy Rees, Chief Executive HMPPS letter to Anne Fox, Clink CEO dated 28/03/23 here.
How to get involved with the Clinks group that advises the Ministry of Justice
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