Agencia appointed to support Probation Trust’s development of commissioning
Members of the Agencia UK Justice team have recently delivered a training seminar to the senior management team of one of two Probation Trusts that have been selected to pilot the development of commissioning. In doing so, the Agencia team were able to draw upon the lessons learned from the development of commissioning in health and social care. This helped the Probation Trust to identify key issues, risks, opportunities and the next steps for their Trust.
Reflecting on the Ministry of Justice’s recently published consultation paper ‘Punishment and Reform – Effective Probation Services,’ Agencia’s UK Justice Manager, Steve Pitts talks about what it means for change to probation services:
“The latest consultation proposes some fundamental changes to the way in which probation services are delivered. Currently, probation services are largely delivered through Probation Trusts. Although some interventions are provided by local authorities, health care trusts and third sector organisations, the delivery of those services is co-ordinated or contracted via Probation Trusts.
The proposal is to split the purchaser-provider functions and to develop commissioning models as the future arrangement by which probation services are delivered. Probation Trusts will not be able to undertake both functions, and the proposals suggest that completely separate organisations will have to exist. A much greater proportion of funding for offender management will be devolved to ‘commissioning Trusts’ – this follows the principle of policing and community safety budgets being devolved to the control of elected Police and Crime Commissioners. The paper proposes joint commissioning with Health and Well Being Boards, Local Authorities and Police and Crime Commissioners, and even signals a shift to PCC’s ultimately being accountable for the delivery of probation services in their area.
The paper recognises that some functions need to remain the responsibility of the public sector, for example pre-sentence assessments and the management of high risk offenders but the remaining services will be opened up to competition, and some Probation Trusts are already in the process of establishing new organisations that are a partnership between public, private and third sector bodies.
Payment by results will also be introduced as an incentive to attract innovation and investment from the private sector. However measuring re-offending rates and in particular what effect specific types of intervention have on an offender’s behaviour have been notoriously difficult to quantify, so the concept of PBR is being viewed cautiously by many involved in working with offenders. Additionally, a much greater use of community sentences – as proposed by the Justice Secretary, will inevitably lead to a significant increase in volume – this presents difficulties when trying to commission services at a fixed price when volume levels are unknown or uncontrolled.
Whilst this is a consultation paper, and some of the proposals may change, we can look at other areas of government policy in the area of Justice and Health and Social Care and be reasonably certain of some changes:
- There will be some form of competition for the delivery of services;
- The government will want some form of cost saving from the new arrangements;
- The current Probation Trust structures will change to some extent;
- Our training offer
We know that other Trusts will be responding to the proposals and are able to offer a one day training seminar to help them plan their transition to the new arrangements. Our training touches on:
- What are we trying to achieve through commissioning?
- The importance of specifying what we are commissioning
- Separating commissioning from provision; structural change
- Commissioning for efficiency, cost reductions and outcomes
- Achieving quality improvement : securing cost reduction
- Shaping the provider market
- Migrating to payment by results
- Governance issues; lessons learned from the NHS
- Achieving financial incentives for commissioning organisations
- Working with Boards and senior teams in leading change
For further information on the training, please contact Steve Pitts on 01482 649900 or email@example.com
Contact us now on +44 (0)1482 649900
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