The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) published a consultation document which describes the changes that they want to make to the probation service. The current contracts are proving difficult to deliver for many reasons but the driver for change is that the volume of offenders being funnelled to the CRCs are significantly lower than predicted and payment is closely linked to volume. This has resulted in the prime providers making significant losses and key driver for change is the unsustainable nature of the contract.
The consultation makes it clear that the current contracts will end Q4 of 2020 (2 years early) and the new contracts will have a number of new features:
The number of CRCs will be cut from 21 to 10 and these will be coterminous with NPS areas.
Wales will see the CRC being merged with the NPS and the activity taken back into the public sector. Rehabilitation work will be tendered out to support the work of the new NPS/CRC.
In England the new CRC’s will be funded under a different formula but will retain the responsibilities they currently have. It is expected that there will be greater use of the Voluntary Sector and this may be achieved through ringfencing and separate commissioning.
There will be a stronger focus on ensuring that criminogenic factors are addressed (e.g. Homelessness, Substance mis-use etc.)
The consultation will run until 21/9/18 and 3SC is working up its response.
Gareth Snaith, Contract Performance Manager, 3SC