Huckfield apologises for the detailed length of this Briefing and offers a link below to take you straight to the two Current Ministry of Justice Consultation Documents in England, Punishment and Reform: Effective Probation Services and Punishment and Reform: Effective Community Sentences, which are its main topic.
To save time most important Huckfield comments are highlighted in this colour.
This detailed Huckfield Briefing summarises developments arising from David Blunkett’s July 2003 Criminal Justice Act and Patrick Carter’s December 2003 Report “Managing Offenders, Reducing Crime“. Many of their themes have been continued into Kenneth’s Clarke’s December 2010 Green Paper “Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders“.
These important milestones, together with others in BACKGROUND below, form the context for two important March 2012 Ministry of Justice Consultations – “Punishment and Reform: Effective Probation Services” and “Punishment and Reform: Effective Community Sentences “.
Though external providers are now tendering to deliver an increasing range of Prison Services, this has not yet happened with Probation Services. These Consultations, if implemented, provide the clearest and and most detailed projection yet of the intentions of National Offender Management Services for external local commissioning by Probation Trusts.
Huckfield advocates that the clear insight from these Consultation Documents of NOMS’ commissioning intentions, coupled with NOMS ESF Technical Assistance to improve partnership bidding capacity, offers a significant opportunity for Social Enterprise and the wider Third Sector to become involved.
To save time, this link
December 2003 Carter Report “Managing Offenders,Reducing Crime”
Patrick Carter’s seminal Report was a detailed examination of whether significant resource increases for Prison and Probation Services were focused or targeted effectively and recommended extending their delivery to a wider range of providers.
July 2007 Offender Management Act
Though this Act set up Probation Trusts with the intention of opening their services to a wider range of providers, this has not yet happened. Commissioning these services is the subject of the current Consultations.
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
Huckfield believes that the combination of NOMS’ clear indication of its commissioning intentions in the current Consultation Documents and the availability of NOMS ESF Technical Assistance offer a significant opportunity for partnership bidding by Social Enterprises and the Third Sector which were not available under the Work Programme and others.
NOMS ESF Technical Assistance
This Section provides details of the way in which NOMS ESF Technical Assistance will operate and illustrates NOMS thinking on why this ESF capacity building support should be given to Social Enterprises and the Third Sector.
This Section shows how the two current Consultations are linked to the possible support from NOMS ESF Technical Assistance.
JUNE 2011 “COMPETITION STRATEGY FOR OFFENDER SERVICES”
While this Policy Document focuses on prisons and provision of Custodial Services, it sheds light on Ministry of Justice and NOMS thinking on new delivery models, savings to be achieved and payment by results. The current Consultation Documents represent similar projections for delivery of Probation Services through external commissioning.
Though mainly about prisons, this Section highlights Ministry of Justice and NOMS policies on quality and value for money, service reform and innovation and developing provider capacity and capability.
FEBRUARY 2012 NOMS COMMISSIONING INTENTIONS 2012-2013
The NOMS Commissioning Intentions 2012-2013 discussion document provides a framework for Prisons and Probation Trusts as they prepare for Service Level Agreements and contracts from April 2012 onwards. Prisons and Probation Trusts will be the prime providers in their localities and will use NOMS Commissioning Intentions as guidance on services to be sub-contracted to providers from all sectors through local commissioning.
Possible Delivery Models
This Section develops NOMS’ commissioning intentions and possible future delivery models, including Co-Commissioning.
Punishment and Reform: Effective Probation Services” and “Punishment and Reform: Effective Community Sentences“, were published on Tuesday 27 March 2012. If implemented, the proposals in these Consultations – the response deadline for which is Friday 22 June 2012 – represent the culmination of major reforms to the Criminal Justice System started by David Blunkett as Home Secretary in 2003. These Consultations take place against this background:
- Public Spending Reductions. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies “Public Spending Cuts: Pain Shared” in February 2011, Figure 6.4 on page 137 shows that the Ministry of Justice faces spending reductions of 26% until 2015 in the November 2010 Spending Review
- Reform of the Criminal Justice System. Kenneth Clarke’s Ministerial Foreward in “Effective Probation Services” says “Almost half of all adult offenders reoffend within a year of leaving custody. That figure rises to three quarters for those sentenced to youth custody”.
- Introducing Additional Providers. Kenneth Clark’s Ministerial Foreward in “Effective Community Sentences ” mentions the 2007 Offender Management Act and “explores how best to ensure that probation can lever in the expertise of the voluntary and private sectors. This builds on existing policies to pay community sentence providers by results”
Together with “Commissioned Services” on page 64 of the Open Public Services Paper, updated in March 2012, these are current Government policies which are relevant to these Consultations.
November 2003 Criminal Justice Act
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 introduced three levels of community sentence, based on a risk assessment of offenders, within the framework of the ‘generic’ Community Order:
- Level 1 – Community Punishment, involving the local community
- Level 2 – Community Rehabilitation (more demanding programmes for medium risk offenders, tackling their assessed needs)
- Level 3 – Intensive Supervision and Monitoring for persistent offenders, providing greater control and surveillance, combined with help to reduce re-offending – including greater use of electronic tagging (including satellite tracking of offenders)
Community Orders are further explained below in Structure of Community SentencesManaging Offenders, Reducing Crime” recommended setting up the National Offender Management Service.
On page 9, “Context of the Review” Carter noted:
Use of prison and probation has increased significantly
Far greater use is being made of prison and probation.
- In 1996, 85,000 offenders were given a custodial sentence and 133,000 were given a community sentence. By 2001, both had increased by 25 per cent, with 107,000 offenders given a custodial sentence and 166,000 offenders receiving a community sentence
“There has been a similar growth in the number of offenders under super vision at any one time.
- In 1996, an average of 55,000 offenders were in custody and a fur ther 127,000 offenders were under super vision in the community. By the end of 2001 this had increased to 66,000 in custody and 141,000 in the community
- The latest figures show that these numbers have grown further. By late 2003 this had exceeded 74,000 offenders in prison
Despite these significant increases, Carter concludes that there is poor targeting, which fails to optimise the use of capital and current resources..
On ‘Probation’ on page 37 he recommended:
“Within NOMS there would be a clear separation of the supervision of offenders
(offender management) and the provision of punishments (community work) and interventions in the community (eg. basic skills training and drug treatment programmes).
“The Regional Offender Managers would manage the supervision of offenders.
- Offender managers would work to the Regional Offender Managers to provide the end-to-end supervision of offenders (in custody or in the community). The offender managers would be the key part of the system – ensuring offenders meet the conditions of their sentence and receive the help they need to reduce
- Offender managers could be from a range of providers in the public, private or voluntary sector. Some may specialise in specific types of offenders (for example drug users) or in particular areas (for example urban or rural locations)
- Regional Offender Managers would then monitor the performance of the offender managers. This could be measured by looking at re-conviction rates, for potentially two years after the end of the sentence
- Initially, the majority of offender managers would be from the public sector. However, over time, new providers will emerge.
Though the National Offender Management Service was set up in 2004 and Probation Trusts were set up in 2007, for Probation Services little of these reforms has been implemented and form the subject of the two current Consultations.
Like many others working in Further Education, Huckfield had already submitted a Proposal for ESF Funding to Staffordshire Probation Services in August 1999 and had incorporated offender management and offending reduction elements in other projects, such as the Wolverhampton Next Steps Project in 2001 and 2002 and in West Midlands NHS Projects in 2002 and 2003. He later worked on Prison Education Projects alongside others at Tamworth College in 2003 and 2004. In 2011, Huckfield worked on a “Realising Ambition” Catch 22 Submission on Young Offenders.
Throughout this time, Huckfield had become aware that many convictions and sentences had become a revolving door. This is why Huckfield welcomed the Ministry of Justice December 2010 Green Paper “Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders“, with its strong reform themes in the Ministerial forward by Ken Clarke as Justice Secretary.
July 2007 Offender Management Act
The Offender Management Act 2007 set up Probation Trusts as independent bodies directly commissioned by the Secretary of State. Though some of their services would be open to competition from other sectors, including from other Probation Trusts, there was no significant increase in delivery capacity provided by the Third Sector. In January 2008, the National Audit Office “National Probation Service: Supervision of Community Orders in England and Wales” was critical about the Probation Service’s poor information on unit delivery costs. Though an initial 10% outsourcing target was replaced by a “Best Value” approach, there was no “market testing” of Probation Services – as was happening with some Prison Services.
For the future local delivery of Probation Services, these two current Consultations therefore represent the culmination of reforms set in motion nearly 10 years ago. The intention of the 2007 Offender Management Act was that Probation services would be opened to a much wider range of providers. If proposals in these current Consultations are implemented, this should now happen.
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
The Government’s preferred commissioning model – as shown in the Work Programme – is through prime contractors using payment by results. Neither of these are favourable to the business and delivery models of most Social Enterprises and the Third Sector. Huckfield has been sceptical of these developments in a detailed briefing Killing Social Enterprise Softly.
However in another briefing, A Ray of Hope for Social Enterprise, Huckfield acknowledges that National Offender Management Services has recognised the bidding problems of Social Enterprises, as illustrated on page 3 of the NOMS High‐Level Specification for Social Enterprise (SE) Consortia Building Programme, which invites Social Enterprise bids for ESF Technical Assistance to increase their capacity:
“There is also often a wider community benefit to the activities delivered by SE’s (beyond those experienced by the participants) and this is a factor that this procurement opportunity will seek to focus and build on.
“Many SE’s are relatively small in size ‐ the latest survey data1 suggests that 77% have a turnover of less than £1m and 36% turnover less than £0.1m. As such, most find it difficult to engage with government procurement opportunities that often have significantly higher thresholds. At sub contract level, there is also a limit to the number and range of organisations that a particular prime contract can support”
Huckfield attended a NOMS ESF Technical Assistance Briefing in Leeds on Wednesday 14 March 2012 and was impressed by the way in which the NOMS Team genuinely sought to involve Social Enterprises and the Third Sector. Huckfield wrote a briefing “A Ray of Hope for Social Enterprise“, in which NOMS intentions were described in more detail.
At the Leeds Briefing Huckfield asked what potential bidding and tendering opportunities might exist for those Social Enterprises and the Third Sector. The two current Consultation provide a detailed answer.
The two current Consultations on Punishment and Reform: “Effective Probation Services” and “Effective Community Sentences ” give strong indications of the way in which the National Offender Management Services proposes to develop further commissioning for Probation Services. These parallel Consultations are accompanied by a detailed Impact Statement which provides more interesting information shown below.
Partnership and capacity development which is supported under NOMS ESF Technical Assistance has already been covered in a previous Huckfield Briefing A Ray of Hope for Social Enterprise. Coupled with a detailed description of NOMS commissioning intentions in the two Consultation Documents Huckfield believes this offers a significant opportunity for Social Enterprise and Third Sector organisations to become delivers as part of the Criminal Justice system.
Kenneth Clark’s Reform Themes from the Green Paper include:
- changing prison regimes to a more productive environment – “working prisons”
- increasing curfews and tagging
- increased reparation and restorative justice
- Community Payback – the “flagship” of community sentencing
- Drug Treatment for Offenders
- One Stop Shops for Women Offenders – from Jean Corston’s Report
- increased employment prospects
- payment by results
- sentencing reform
- reform of youth sentencing, including remanded young people recognised as “looked after” by local authorities
- working with communities
Kenneth Clarke’s Ministerial Forward on page 1 of the December 2010 Green Paper: Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders is clear on intentions:
“This Green Paper addresses all three of these priorities, setting out how an intelligent sentencing framework, coupled with more effective rehabilitation, will enable us to break the cycle of crime and prison which creates new victims every day. Despite a 50% increase in the budget for prisons and managing offenders in the last ten years almost half of all adult offenders released from custody reoffend within a year. It is also not acceptable that 75% of offenders sentenced to youth custody reoffend within a year. If we do not prevent and tackle offending by young people then the young offenders of today will become the prolific career criminals of tomorrow”.
New Delivery Models
Page 47 of the Green Paper on “Reforming Services” heralds new delivery models heralds new delivery models:
“161. By April 2012 Probation Trusts will have slimmed down contracts focused on ensuring the effective delivery of sentences of the court and reducing reoffending. We will also develop proposals to allow Trusts more opportunities to use their own judgement in how they manage their businesses. The aim is to create a more level playing field to enable the public sector to be more directly compared with payment by results providers.
“162. We will explore the scope for new business models that can deliver better services, reduce costs, and enable partnership with the communities in which local agencies work. Some Probation Trusts are already making innovations of this type. We will consider giving public sector workers greater independence in managing the services they deliver, through the creation of social enterprises, co-operatives and mutualisation. This will support the transition of the public probation service towards a payment by results model.
Page 48 of the Green Paper is even more specific on models:
“164. To enable these changes while creating savings, the National Offender Management Service will be reformed and significantly slimmed down through replacing the existing regional structures with a leaner functional approach. This functional model will support commissioning of services; management of public sector prisons; management of contracts with Probation Trusts, private and voluntary and community sector providers; and delivery of national operational services. The new commissioning function will retain central oversight for commissioning in the short term, but this responsibility will increasingly be devolved to local commissioners to get the best responsiveness to local needs, to drive out cost and to enable smaller community-based organisations to participate fully. In the interim we could require main contractors to involve small, local organisations to ensure an integrated approach at local level. This model will be developed over the next two years”
Page 71 on “Effective Sentencing for Young Offenders” has some interesting suggestions on young offenders:
“246. The current remand legislation for young people consists of a mixture of different frameworks for deciding where a young person is remanded and who pays, depending on the young person’s age and gender. This needs simplifying. To achieve this we propose to create a single youth remand order for 12–17 year olds. This would, gradually and with an associated transfer of funding, transfer the full costs of all remand to local authorities. Placements of remanded young people would still be commissioned and managed centrally and the local authority would be charged for this service”.
Payment by Results
“257. We therefore propose to run a small number of pilots, each working in partnership with a consortia of volunteer local authorities. We will agree a target reduction in the use of custody with the consortia and provide a reinvestment grant, on top of the standard grant to Youth Offending Teams, to help them achieve this. The consortia will have flexibility in how they use the funding. At the end of the pilot period we will recoup some, or all, of the grant if the consortium has failed to meet the agreed target, based on the consortium’s use of custody. The pilots will enable us to explore how local areas can share in the financial savings and risks of custody.
On page 74 on Payment by Results, the Green Paper continues:
“259. We are exploring how we could apply a payment by results approach to Youth Offending Teams and custodial providers. This would link the funding we give them to the outcomes that they deliver. We would welcome views on how this might be achieved, as well as how we design future contracts with custodial providers with this in mind.
On page 81 under “Reforming the Courts to provide more Efficient and Effective Justice for Communities” the Green Paper seeks further Community Involvement:
“287. However, we also need to promote other opportunities for public involvement, through consultation about local concerns and action to address them and through volunteering. We want to test new, innovative ways of getting communities more involved in tackling low-level crime and anti-social behaviour. One approach which we are particularly interested in piloting is that of Neighbourhood Justice Panels. These provide a form of restorative justice in which local volunteers and criminal justice professionals are brought together to decide what action should be taken to deal with some types of low level crime and disorder. We will be bringing forward plans to test their effectiveness in the summer.
These intentions for further reform of the Criminal Justice system represent the Government policy which underpins the two current Consultation Documents. As above, these are shown in detail since they show potential for the involvement of Social Enterprises and the Third Sector.
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Competition Strategy for Offenders ” under “Improving Efficiency” says:
“The recent round of prison competitions generated around £22mn of savings in the Spending Review period and £216mn overall when compared to current cost. Competitive pressure led to savings at all of the establishments competed including HMP Buckley and HMP Doncaster, where contracts were retained by the existing providers.
“In addition to this a contract was let for HMP Featherstone II, a new 1605 place prison, which will provide places at the lowest operational unit cost in the estate at £11,000 per prisoner per year, against an average of £27,400 per prisoner per year. This low cost does not come with an impoverished regime – the specification for the prison requires standards as high as those in our existing prisons.
“Following the recompete of the Prisoner Escort and Custody Services we expect to release gross forecast cashable savings of around £30m (18%) in year one and £260m (20%) over the minimum seven year contract period.
Paragraph 114 on page 27 of the Ministry of Justice Impact Strategy for the March Consultation Papers on “Effective Community Sentences ” and “Punishment and Reform: Effective Probation Services” says:
“These savings are also shown as paragraph 113 on page 27 of the Impact Statement which accompanies the “Effective Community Services” and “Effective Probation Services” consultations which commenced on March 27 2012, with a concluding deadline of June 2012.
Paragraph 15 on page 8 of the Ministry of Justice “Competition Strategy for Offender Services ” continues:
“15. We will embed competition into our day-to-day business practices and expect our providers to respond accordingly. Previously, competition was targeted at particular establishments or services, often to correct poor performance. We will move to a model where, over time, every service will be competed unless there are compelling reasons why it should not be. We see this as a more empowering and stabilising strategy for our system that will drive improvement across a range of services”.
Paragraph 19 “Service Reform and Innovation” on page 9 of “Competition Strategy for Offender Services” repeats the formula for putting every service out to tender:
“19. We have committed by 2015 to applying the principles of payment by results across services which reduce re-offending. This includes piloting at least six new Payment by Results (PBR) projects. We will also consider the range of innovative proposals that have been presented to us in recent months and consider where best to pilot those ideas. The pilots will inform the development of this approach and help us identify effective models, which can be further rolled out in future competitions.”
Under “Developing Provider Capacity and Capability” in paragraphs 20 and 21 on page 11 of “Competition Strategy for Offender Services” sets out the basic aim of using a diverse range of providers;
“20. Developing a diverse market of potential providers of Offender services is vital to improving our outcomes. The market must be capable of attracting sustained investment and properly incentivising providers to drive efficiency and innovation. Government has a key role in promoting a functioning market which recognises the different strengths of different providers, whether they are from the public, private or voluntary and community sector.
“21.The most important element in ensuring a diverse market for Offender services is ensuring that all participants are confident that we will run fair and transparent processes. We will follow best commercial practice in our competitions, ensuring that all bidders understand what we require of them and how we will assess their bids. Wherever possible, we will commission services by outcome. Bids will be judged on quality, price and fit with our broader policy objectives”.
Though the June 2011 “Commissioning Strategy for Offender Services” mainly deals with provision of custodial services, this shows the extent of policy changes already happening in the Prison Service. These two current Consultations have the potential to set in motion similar developments for delivery throughout the Probation Service.
FEBRUARY 2012 NOMS COMMISSIONING INTENTIONS 2012-2013
This Document NOMS Commissioning Intentions 2012-2013 represents Version 2 of the original Introduction to NOMS Offender Services Commissioning in November 2011. Version 2 represents a considerable revision and more focused version of the original November 2011 document.
The NOMS Commissioning Intentions 2012-2013 document relies heavily on evidence-based commissioning. This Huckfield Briefing lists below detailed examples of NOMS “evidence-based commissioning, with extensive potential for Social Enterprise, Third Sector and wider community involvement.
On page 9, NOMS indicates “the kinds of services and interventions that have the best evidence base for reducing reoffending:
- structured cognitive-behavioural programmes such as accredited programmes. Accredited programmes by definition are interventions that have been independently judged to meet evidence-based standards
- basic education (where needed)
- employment-focused programmes in which offenders can secure real jobs
- structured therapeutic communities particularly for substance misusing offenders
- therapeutic approaches for juvenile offenders that involve the family
- substitution prescribing, in conjunction with psychosocial support, for opiate dependent offenders”
Page 9 continues: “Evidence indicates that the following are promising approaches in terms of reducing reoffending”:
- Circles of Support and Accountability for sexual offenders
- Medical treatment for some types of sexual offenders
- Structured group counselling
- Peer fellowship/support for substance misusers /li>
- Structured approaches to supervision (e.g. the Citizenship programme created by Durham Tees Valley Probation Trust)
- Intensive supervision involving treatment programmes
- Cognitive behavioural domestic violence interventions
- Motivational Interviewing”
On page 10, NOMS indicates further “intermediate outcomes likely to be important and worth consideration”:
- improving reintegration into (non criminal) social and family groups. This includes strengthening family ties, improving family and intimate relationships, improving parenting behaviours, and increasing acceptance into communities and social networks
- changes in anti-social attitudes and improvements in thinking skills
- finding suitable accommodation and increasing skills to retain accommodation
- finding long term employment and increasing employment skills
- ending debt and other finance-related problems
- achieving sobriety
Possible Delivery Models
Page 28 of the NOMS Commissioning Intentions 2012-2013 document shows NOMS further commissioning aims which include these services:
- Providers developing their capacity to offer restorative justice conferencing in custody and the community
- Establishment of effective models of Integrated Offender Management by close working between providers and local community partners; • Development of credible alternatives to custody and custodial remand for the courts
- Delivery of the specification for Approved Premises to enable offenders to progress to less intensive support while offering protection to the community
- Developing the use of interventions suitable for delivery as Specified Action Requirements in order to address offending behaviours which are currently poorly provided for
- Increasing the level of meaningful work for prisoners and developing ‘working prisons’ using the expertise of the private, voluntary and community sectors
- Developing systems which will enable the greater engagement of volunteers within the provision of offender services in custody and in the community
Page 23 of NOMS Commissioning Intentions 2012-2013 also shows NOMS intentions for Co-Commissioning, including:
- Continue to align resources with mainstream providers of primary and secondary healthcare (including mental health services) and ensure that emerging structures as part of the Health Reforms in England are able to access NOMS funded resources to support effective joint planning and delivery
- Improve access to mainstream Adult Social Care assessment and support for offenders in custody
- Align services with Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS 4) providers in prisons in England following re-competition of the service and support initiatives to make prisons places of work
- Facilitate the introduction, and ongoing operation, of mandating day one entry of prison leavers onto the DWP Work Programme
- Strengthen relationships with NOMS CFO Employment Service Providers to maximise the services available to offenders both in prison and in the community
- Ensure that offender’s families are highlighted as a priority group within the DfE Families with Multiple Problems initiative and that they are able to access appropriate specialist services
- Ensure appropriate access, and where necessary support, for offenders to enable them to resolve their housing related problems
- Ensure that all offenders have access to services that assist them to manage their finances
This Section has highlighted in detail NOMS Commissioning Intentions for 2012-2013 since the wide range of their ambition indicates a broad diversity of delivery in which Social Enterprises, Third Sector and Community Organisations might become involved.
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Effective Community Sentences Consultation Document ” Consultation under “Intensive Community Punishment” in paragraph 24, one of the main proposals is to change Community Orders to make them more credible to sentencers and to the public, centring on an Intensive Community Punishment which could combine:
- Community Payback
- Significant restrictions of liberty through an electronically monitored curfew, exclusion, and a foreign travel ban
- A driving ban
- A fine
Sentencers would also have the option to add some rehabilitative requirements, and measures to deliver compensation or reparation to victims. It is proposed that the length of Intensive Community Punishment would be restricted to 12 months.
Structure of Community Sentences
As shown below, the structure of large numbers of Community Orders means that these could be carried out by organisations working alongside Probation Trusts. Though Figure 1 “Volume of Community Order Starts by Requirement on page 6 of the Impact Statement shows that between 2006 and 2010 Community Orders varied between 212,000 and 231,000, paragraphs 7 and 8 continue:
“Around half of offenders sentenced to a community order are subject to only one requirement:
“7. In 2010, 118,700 adults started a community order – around half of these had one requirement; 35% two; 12% three and 3% four or more. Unpaid work alone was the most common combination of requirements (given to 33% of adults starting a community order in 2010).
“In 2010, 37% of those offenders who started community orders were tier 1 offenders
“8. In the same period, 61% of offenders were supervised by an unqualified Probation Service Officer (PSO) (tiers 1 & 2) and 38% were supervised by qualified Probation Officers (POs) (tiers 3 & 4). More than 80% of standalone unpaid work cases were in tier 1. The combinations of accredited programmes and supervision, and drug treatment and supervision were represented most in the higher supervision tiers. Around two thirds of the community orders terminating in 2010 ran their full course or were terminated early for good progress.
Figure 3 “Requirements by Tier” on page 7 of the Impact Statement shows that Unpaid Work at 90% was the most commonly used requirement for Tier One Offender.
All this is described in detail since it shows the potential for Community Orders and similar provision to be delivered by Social Enterprises and Third Sector organisations, based in the local community.
The “Introduction” of “Punishment and Reform: Effective Community Sentences” in paragraph 18 on page 7 emphasises that the Consultation would like to receive more flexible delivery approaches:
“18. We are bringing forward these reforms at a challenging time in terms of public finances. Given the wider landscape of financial constraint and consolidation, these proposals must be considered in the context of affordability. Our reforms must enable us to do better with less. Through this consultation we seek views from sentencers and local areas in particular to develop our understanding of the choices around how these proposals could be introduced. The related impact assessment sets out our estimates of the impacts of these reforms; but we will be undertaking further work as part of the consultation exercise to assess the costs and trade-offs of doing so. The value for money of any investment required will be paramount when considering implementation.”
This represents an open invitation for responses which propose Flexible Delivery solutions is described in THE CHALLENGE OF GEOGRAPHY below.
Payment by Results
Paragraphs 151 to 154 on pages 37 and 38 of “Punishment and Reform: Effective Community Sentences” are specific on Payment by Results:
“151.We aim to apply the principles of payment by results to all providers of offender services by 2015. We are testing the approach through a series of initial pilots. Pilots have already started in two private prisons, with two more, in public sector prisons, to follow in 2012. We are contributing to eight drug and alcohol recovery pilots run by the Department of Health and are testing through two pilots with the Department for Work and Pensions how we can further incentivise Work Programme1 providers to reduce reoffending. Two further pilots focus on offenders in the community, under the management of the Wales, and Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trusts, and are being developed in line with our wider proposals for reforming probation services.
“152.For each of the two community pilots, a proportion of the participating Trust’s funding will be placed ‘at risk’, with payment dependent on the successful rehabilitation of offenders. If the pilot meets its target, measured through a reduction in reconvictions, then the ‘at risk’ payment will be made. Over-achievement will bring the potential for additional success payments, but failure to meet the reconvictions target will mean that no payment is made.
“153.As this approach requires the transfer of financial risk from the Government to the provider, the two public sector Probation Trusts cannot directly engage in their current form. The pilots will seek to test how novel commercial and contractual arrangements between Probation Trusts and partners from outside the public sector can enable probation services to be delivered on a payment by results basis. The pilot providers will be granted new freedoms and flexibilities, to allow them to develop and introduce innovative service delivery models,
“154. The pilots will begin in 2013, and run for up to four years. The final scope is still to be agreed, but it is likely that a significant portion of each Trust’s community sentence caseload will be included, so that we can have confidence in the results that we observe. Each of the two pilots will be the subject of an independent evaluation, and the lessons learned will inform our strategy for applying payment by results principles more widely to offender services.”
This Section has highlighted the range of provision for which Probation Trusts may in future commission local external delivery of services and its broad diversity in which Social Enterprises, Third Sector and Community Organisations might become involved.
THE CHALLENGE OF GEOGRAPHY
These Consultation Documents and their forerunners make it clear that the number of Probation Trusts and their separate areas will be reduced. There is also a strong emphasis of the closer involvement of local councils, especially since the December 2010 Breaking the Cycle Green Paper envisages that these will fund remand elements of Young Offender Services.
On page 19 in paragraph 41, the Effective Probation Services Consultation Document makes it clear that Probation Trusts will largely become responsible for commissioning in their areas:
“Probation services are currently commissioned by NOMS. In order to achieve our objectives we want to see a stronger role for public sector Probation Trusts as commissioners. As part of their enhanced commissioning role we envisage that Trusts would:
- receive and manage budgets for the delivery of the entire range of community based offender management services, including Electronic Monitoring
- compete specified probation services such as the offender management and supervision of lower risk offenders and specified activities
- act as joint commissioners with local partners of other services for offenders”
However, some smaller Trusts will be be absorbed into larger Probation Services regions. Since NOMS has private sector prime contractors for delivery of other services, it is uncertain how these will feature in future Probation Trust commissioning.
The December 2010 Breaking the Cycle Green Paper recommended a more central role for local authorities in funding young offenders on remand. Paragraph 246 on page 71 says:
“The current remand legislation for young people consists of a mixture of different frameworks for deciding where a young person is remanded and who pays, depending on the young person’s age and gender. This needs simplifying. To achieve this we propose to create a single youth remand order for 12–17 year olds. This would, gradually and with an associated transfer of funding, transfer the full costs of all remand to local authorities. Placements of remanded young people would still be commissioned and managed centrally and the local authority would be charged for this service.”
Since a stronger role is envisaged for local authorities, Huckfield wonders whether this might offer the possibility of a Probation Trust, Local Council and Third Sector Organisations forming a “wholly devolved administration” for their area within a larger regional boundary? This might offer a solution in some smaller areas with less resources, to form a basis for comprehensive localised commissioning.
In “Strengthening Local Delivery” in paragraph 71 on page 27, the Effective Probation Services Consultation says:
“The Open Public Services White Paper March 2012 highlights the Government’s belief that “power should be decentralised to the lowest appropriate level”. If we are successfully to strengthen the local delivery of services to meet local priorities, while potentially reducing Probation Trust numbers, Trusts will need to put the right structures in place to maintain these important relationships with partners. We will also need to consider the probation leadership and skills base required at a more local level”.
Finally, Huckfield is really grateful for your reading through all of this and welcomes any comments below.