Last week the Ministry of Justice announced that, from June 2021, accredited programmes and unpaid work will be delivered by the National Probation Service. At the same time, they launched the Dynamic Framework and reiterated their commitment to the voluntary sector’s role in delivering rehabilitation and resettlement services which will be commissioned through this process. This blog gives further detail on our view on this announcement and the services that will be commissioned through the Dynamic Framework.
A unified probation system
Clinks welcomes the announcement on the basis that a simplified system that reduces complexity for people - and the need for contract management and monitoring - will mean a stronger focus on meeting people’s needs.
The previous model of contracting out accredited programmes and unpaid work through Probation Delivery Partners involved contract sizes that were too large for the vast majority of voluntary sector organisations to compete for, meaning they were either locked out or reduced to playing a much smaller role as supply chain partners – a model which under Transforming Rehabilitation has not proved a positive experience for the voluntary sector. A small number of voluntary organisations, however, had committed time and resource to participate in the Probation Delivery Partner competition and it is regrettable that this has been wasted. We also know that some of the larger organisations in the sector were exploring supply chain models that better involved and benefitted smaller organisations than those we’ve seen involved in the past and it is important that the learning from the development of these models is not lost.
The Dynamic Framework has been launched
In my last blog I outlined what the probation Dynamic Framework is and how organisations can qualify onto the framework in order to bid to deliver these services. The framework is now live for organisations to begin the process to qualify onto it.
In the announcement made last week, the Secretary of State reiterated commitment and recognition of the voluntary sector’s role in delivering rehabilitation and resettlement services, highlighting that our sector has “some of the best experience, innovation and skill to tackle these issues.”
More than £100 million a year will be available to procure services through the Dynamic Framework. On Friday, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) published further market warming materials confirming the first services that organisations qualified onto the framework will be able to compete for.
As explained in my previous blog, the Dynamic Framework will be used over the next seven years to commission services that meet 14 different need categories (See my earlier blog for the details). The first of these to be commissioned will be those services that will be available from day one of the new model’s operation in June 2021. These are now confirmed as:
- Accommodation – commissioned in 12 contract lots, one in each National Probation Service area.
- Employment, Training and Education – commissioned in 12 contract lots, one in each National Probation Service area.
- Personal wellbeing – family and significant others, lifestyle and associates, social inclusion, and emotional wellbeing. Commissioned in 42 contract lots at Police and Crime Commissioner area level.
- A specific young adult cohort personal wellbeing contract commissioned in Wales.
- Women’s services – accommodation; employment, training and education; finance; benefits and debt; personal wellbeing; dependency and recovery. Commissioned in 42 contract lots at Police and Crime Commissioner area level.
A reduction in scope of day one contracts
Unfortunately, this is a reduced number of day one services which reflects the impact that Covid-19 has had on the ability to run the previously proposed competitions. Under previous plans, additional competitions for dependency and recovery, and finance, benefit and debt were to be run. These will now be commissioned by Regional Probation Directors in the same way as the other service categories that do not form part of day one services.
Larger contracts and supply chain protections
All competitions were proposed to be commissioned at Police and Crime Commissioner level. The increase in contract size for accommodation, and employment, training and education services will present challenges to ensuring that small, local and specialist organisations are appropriately involved.
We are pleased to see a number of supply chain protections, which we have advocated for, published as part of the market warming materials. These protections include:
- Suppliers will be required to name key subcontractors and seek permission to switch or terminate key subcontractors in order to protect against organisations being used as ‘bid candy’
- There’s a preclusion against suppliers requiring sub-contractors to enter into exclusivity agreements
- Suppliers will be required to report annually on their supply chain to provide transparency and visibility, which was a key recommendation of our #trackTR research.
Small and specialist organisations
We are also pleased that HMPPS has been able to maintain Police and Crime Commissioner level contract lots for at least some of the service areas, including those where some of the smallest and most specialist organisations in the sector operate. Throughout the development of this commissioning process, we advocated alongside the specialist women’s sector for a specific contract lot for women’s service and are pleased to see it remains.
However, we continue to be very concerned that there is no day one service being commissioned for black, Asian and minority ethnic people and believe that this is not in line with HMPPS’s commitment to implement the Lammy Review in both spirit and letter.
Use of grants
In the future, commissioners will be able to commission services through the Dynamic Framework using both grants and contracts, but day one services are likely to be commissioned through contracts.
We have strongly advocated that a greater use of grants across the whole commissioning process would reduce complexity and enable a greater number of day one services to be commissioned in the challenging context of Covid-19.
We will continue to work with HMPPS to highlight how grants can best be used by probation commissioners now and in the future.
We have been pleased to work very closely with the probation review team in the development of the dynamic framework and to support them to engage with the sector including through the Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group’s Special interest group on probation and more widely, and look forward to this continuing. Read more about our work in this area on our dedicated page. Covid-19 has presented challenging issues for both HMPPS and the voluntary sector who’s capacity to engage in commissioning processes has been significantly reduced and we will continue to work with HMPPS to make recommendations for how the ongoing commissioning of services can best be done within this context.
Next steps for the sector
Access the market warming materials and qualify onto the Dynamic Framework
All of the market warming materials are being hosted on Jaggaer (the MoJ’s esourcing portal - formerly Bravo). To access documents, organisations need to log in to the system. If you do not already have an account you will need to register here. If you are unsure whether you already have an account, you can email esourcing@Justice.gov.uk and the team will check for you.
Once you are logged in, follow these steps:
- Click on ‘PQQs open to all suppliers’.
- In the search bar type ‘Probation Dynamic Framework Market Warming’. Click on the event titled ‘PQQ_199 - Probation Dynamic Framework Market Warming’.
- Click ‘Express an Interest’ in the green box.
- Relevant information can be found under ‘Buyer Attachment’ and ‘My Response’.
Attend a Clinks event
Clinks is holding a series of events to support the voluntary sector in qualifying onto the Dynamic Framework. Find out more here
Further questions about the new probation model? Visit our dedicated webpage for an overview of probation services, what Clinks and our members are doing, and our probation jargon explainer.