The government has said charities will play an “enhanced” role in rehabilitation schemes as it announced plans to bring probation services back in-house.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said that over £100m a year is expected to be available to charities and private providers to run education, employment, addiction and accommodation services.
From June 2021, HM Prison and Probation Services (HMPPS) will take overall responsibility for supervising offenders in England.
Charities and others have criticised the government’s efforts over the last few years to outsource probation services to the private and voluntary sector.
In 2018 Clinks, an umbrella body that had been monitoring the £900m Transforming Rehabilitation programme since it launched in 2015, said the government had “failed charities” because many found it difficult to access funding.
Dynamic Framework launch
Announcing the changes last week, the MoJ said that both the private sector and charities would continue to play a role in rehabilitation. “The voluntary sector – so fundamental to reducing reoffending by improving the lives of offenders through rehabilitation – will play an enhanced role in the probation system.”
In response, Anne Fox, chief executive of Clinks, said: “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.”
To facilitate the changes, the government has launched what it is calling the “Dynamic Framework”.
The first stage is for charities to put themselves forward and explain what services they can offer and where. Then, later this year, regional probation directors will launch mini competitions for those organisations listed on the Dynamic Framework with the relevant skills.
Services will be competitively commissioned for delivery at a local level by prison governors, probation regional directors, police and crime commissioners and other authorities which require them.
There is no deadline to join the Dynamic Framework. Clinks has posted a blog explaining more about how the system will work.