We have provided answers here to some of the most common questions asked about Transforming Rehabilitation. Where the questions are not easily answered, or the answer may vary depending on the situation, you will be signposted to a useful resource.
What is Transforming Rehabilitation?
Transforming Rehabilitation is the name given to the Government's plans to change the way in which offenders are managed, through the outsourcing of a large portion of the probation service in England and Wales.
The reforms involve replacing the previous 35 individual Probation Trusts with a single National Probation Service, responsible for the management of high-risk offenders; and 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) responsible for the management of low to medium risk offenders in a Contract Package Area (CPA). The CRCs will also have a new responsibility for supervising short-sentence prisoners (those sentenced to less than 12 months in prison) after release.
From April 2015 the work being done by the CRCs will be contracted out by the Ministry of Justice. A range of organisations and consortia, from all sectors, are currently bidding for these contracts. These are known as the "Tier 1" bidders. Tier 1 organisations will be expected to build supply chains including smaller organisations, known as Tier 2 and Tier 3s, in order to subcontract some of the services.
How do I get involved in TR/become part of a supply chain?
What is the difference between Tier 1s, 2s and 3s?
Tier 1 bidders are large private sector organisations, charities and probation mutuals, or a combination of the three working in partnership. The successful Tier 1 in each CPA will sign a contract directly with the MoJ to provide services in that area.
Tier 1 bidders will be looking to create supply chains in order to carry out the necessary services. The supply chains will be made up of Tier 2 and 3 organisations. There is no official definition of Tier 2s and 3s available, however we believe that the following can be said:
Tier 2 organisations are likely to be medium to large private or voluntary sector organisations subcontracted to provide the core rehabilitation services required under Transforming Rehabilitation (including housing, employment, and substance misuse).
Tier 3s may be smaller or more specialist organisations; or may be providing "additional rehabilitation activity" which is not part of the TR core requirements. These may include arts or sports interventions or mentoring services.
When negotiating with Tier 1s you should ask for a clear understanding of whether you are deemed to be providing a "materially significant" service as it may affect the termination rights and other terms under your contract.
Who is the Tier 1 in our area?
How do I contact the Tier 1s?
Where can I find the latest info about TR?
Where can I find resources to help my organisation through TR?
How can I access free legal advice?
Clinks' TR Helpline
can provide information and advice to voluntary sector organisations looking to be involved in TR. We can also refer small to medium sized Clinks members (up to £5 million turnover) who are engaged in negotiations to become tier 2 or 3 providers for free legal advice, provided through regional solicitors.
Further legal support resources, including a guide to subcontracting and the legal implications of the ISPA can be found here
, and may be useful for organisations who do not meet the criteria to receive free legal advice.
If you think that you may need legal advice and are eligible, contact the TR Helpline at TRhelpline@clinks.org
. Your enquiry will be picked up by Clinks staff, and if appropriate you will be referred for legal support. Please include a contact telephone number in case we need to call you back.
What is the ISPA?
The Industry Standard Partnering Agreement (ISPA) is the new standard contract produced by the MoJ, that most organisations will be required to use when subcontracting under the TR programme. The ISPA includes a number of standard clauses, some of which are mandatory and some which are not; and blank schedules to be completed during negotiations between the Tier 1 and the subcontractor.
Clinks in association with Russell-Cooke solicitors have produced a guide which will help voluntary sector organisations get to grips with the implications of taking on this kind of contract and how to deal with contract negotiations. The Guide can be downloaded as a complete document, or by individual module, which cover various issues relating to subcontracting. There is also a short video introduction to each module which covers the key points. Access the guide here.
What are the proposed timescales for TR?
May 2013 – Prior Information Notice
July 2013 – MoJ/NOMS complete competition design.
September 2013 – Competition opened
14th November 2013 - deadline for potential Tier 1 providers to submit Pre-Qualification Questionnaires
February 2014 - Invitation to Negotiate stage starts
31st March 2014 - All probation staff allocated to NPS or CRC
1st June 2014 - New split probation service starts
30 June 2014 - Deadline for submission of bids by potential Tier 1 providers
Before end of 2014 - Contracts awarded
Early 2015 - New providers take over CRCs
When will the new providers begin delivering services?
The successful Tier 1 bidders will sign their contracts with the MoJ before the end of 2014. However, the time at which they take over delivering the services may vary between Contract Package Areas, depending on how quickly they are able to put their chosen delivery model in place.
What will the payment mechanism look like?
It's worth noting that for most organisations at Tier 2 or 3 level, how payments are received will depend on the Tier 1 they are contracting with, and may or may not include a Payment by Results element.
What if I’m not involved in the initial supply chain?
The successful Tier 1's contracts with the MoJ will be for 7-10 years. However, there may be opportunities for organisations not included in the initial supply chain to enter further down the line. Tier 2 and 3 contracts are set to a minimum of three years from when they begin delivering services, and so it's possible that new opportunities will arise as Tier 1s review their needs and capacity.
There is also a difference between the rehabilitation services that Tier 1s will be required to provide and "additional rehabilitation activity" which they may choose to commission if they feel it will improve their chances of meeting their Payment by Results targets. Arts and sport interventions, and mentoring are examples of "additional rehabilitation activity".
Some Tier 1s have indicated that they are considering, for instance, grant funding smaller organisations delivering specific services, or looking to co-commission services with statutory bodies or Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs). It is unlikely that these arrangements will begin until a year or more after the successful Tier 1s have begun delivering their contracts.
We're looking at developing a consortium/partnership work...
For many voluntary sector organisations looking to be part of TR, developing a consortium or working in partnership with other organisations to expand capacity or increase geographical coverage may be an attractive and worthwhile idea.
What is a confidentiality agreement?
When two organisations discuss the possibility of working together it is normal for each to protect themselves by having a binding confidentiality agreement in place. Typically, this prevents the disclosure of confidential information, or poaching of staff. It may also deal with other sensitive issues such as exclusivity of discussions. It's important to have a confidentiality agreement in place prior to entering into negotiations with a Tier 1 organisation.
Russell-Cooke Solicitors have produced a confidentiality agreement and accompanying explanatory note for the benefit of voluntary sector organisations hoping to be part of TR. Please call the TR Helpline
if you want further information or advice on how to use it.
I have a query about TUPE
TUPE refers to the transfer of contracted staff between organisations, which may apply to organisations taking on contracts as part of Transforming Rehabilitation, particularly at Tier 2 level. Under TUPE, employees will follow their work on the same terms and conditions.
TUPE is a legal requirement, so it is essential that you seek legal advice on whether it would apply to your specific situation and do not simply rely on assurances from the party you are negotiating with.
If you have further questions about TUPE or feel that you may require legal advice please contact Clinks' TR helpline.
I've been asked if I have ISO27001 accreditation, what is that?
ISO27001 is an international standard for information security. It is not clear at this stage whether all Tier 2/3 contractors will be required to have this accreditation. Some Tier 1s are however including a question about the accreditation, and the related Business Impact Level 3, in their expression of interest forms.
What do our board need to think about before taking on a contract?
Clinks and Russell-Cooke Solicitors have produced a checklist of issues that the management team and boards of organisations may want to consider before entering into subcontracting arrangements using the Industry Standard Partnering Agreement (ISPA). Download this here: tr_checklist_for_boards_updated.pdf
Do I have to sign an exclusivity clause with a Tier 1?
In the MoJ's registration document they state, under point 1, that Tier 1s should not require organisations to sign exclusivity clauses when entering into negotiations with them - click here to access the document.
We are aware however that some Tier 2 and 3 contractors have been asked to sign such agreements. If you have have been asked to sign one, or have any concerns about this, please email the TR Helpline.