Statutory commissioning jargon buster
There is a lot of specific terminology involved in statutory commissioning. Below, we explain some of the most commonly used terms.
Bidding refers to the process of taking part in a competition to win a specific statutory contract. Bids are also sometimes referred to as tenders. This can be a bit confusing, as Invitations to Tender (see below) are also sometimes simply referred to as tenders.
Call-off is the stage of the commissioning process when organisations compete for a specific contract. When Commissioners announce their intention to run call-off for specific services (often through an online portal or system, e.g. the Dynamic Framework for probation service), organisations that have qualified to do so, can compete for specific contracts (see Qualification below).
Commissioning is the process that most public sector organisations use to firstly find out what services they need to provide, then design these, put them in place, monitor and finally review their effectiveness. It is a decision-making process that frequently involves procuring services, either through grant-funding or tendering for contracts.
Consortium (pl. consortia) means two or more organisations coming together to make a collective bid to win a contract for services. Organisations may decide to bid as a consortium to strengthen their application, most commonly when organisations are not able to meet all of the relevant requirements individually, but can collectively.
An Invitation to Tender (ITT) sometimes referred to simply as a tender, is a formal document issued by a commissioning body. It outlines the scope of services that the commissioning body intends to procure and invites organisations to submit a formal bid (or tender) for the contract.
Market warming is the stage where preparatory documents are released to potential bidders so that they can prepare for the commissioning competition.
Prime provider/contractor means an organisation (often a larger organisation) that works under a direct contract with the government to deliver services. Prime providers/contractors can subcontract work to other providers and manage subcontractors (see Subcontract below). The prime provider/contractor is responsible for ensuring that the work is completed as defined in the contract.
Procurement is a stage in the commissioning process. It means the purchase of goods or services by a public sector body, under contract, from another, external organisation.
Qualification is the process by which organisations apply to be on a commissioning system, such as the Dynamic Framework for probation services.
A Selection Questionnaire is something that organisations must complete at a preliminary stage of a commissioning process. It asks for basic information about the organisation and the services it delivers. Based on the information provided at this stage, organisations that meet the selection criteria can qualify to bid for specific contracts.
Sub-contract is a contract between a prime provider/contractor (usually a larger organisation) and another organisation (usually a smaller organisation that delivers specialist services) to deliver specific elements of a statutory contract.
Values is a term that HMPPS uses to refer to the overall cost of a service that it is commissioning.
Volume is a term that HMPPS uses to refer to the number of service users it is buying services for through a commissioning process.
- Probation services overview
- More coming soon