Education commissioning

Ministry of Justice Commissioning of New Prison Education Contracts

Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) contracts come to an end in 2018, making way for a new era of prison governor-led education commissioning. Prisons are being given increasing flexibility and control over education budgets and the ability to commission a wide range of provision. 

To stay up to date with announcements on this fast-moving area of reform, sign up to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) online 'Sourcing Portal' here:

The changes to commissioning present procurement opportunities to a much wider range of organisations. The MoJ has been working to inform and consult this audience through a series of events and resources - see below for a full list.

Prison Education Framework - Invitation to Tender (ITT)

The ITT was released on 8th February 2018 - click here to sign up and view via the MoJ sourcing portal.

Launch events: accompanying events were held on 15th February in Sheffield and 22nd February in London.
Click here to view slides from these events.

Click here to read a transcript of the Q & A sessions held following these events.

Two sets of clarification Q & A have been issued regarding the ITT since the launch events and are available here and here.

Some of the key documents in the ITT are linked below. Sign up to the MoJ sourcing portal to access all of the documents.

MoJ Events and Resources

See below for a list of further events and resources issued by the MoJ, to update current and potential provider organisations in the sector about the changes as they develop:

To stay up to date with future engagement events, sign up to the MoJ online 'Sourcing Portal' at this link.

The PLA has been summarising its key findings from some of these events - read more below:

Greenhouses not Warehouses: Commissioning education to plant seeds of hope and opportunity

Governor-led commissioning is an exciting opportunity to increase engagement of prisoners in education, to improve outcomes for learners and achieve a whole-prison learning culture, which aligns closely with the PLA's vision. The PLA has produced a workbook, titled 'Greenhouses not Warehouses: Commissioning education to plant seeds of hope and opportunity', aimed at supporting governors and managers to plan and commission education in this new environment.

Read a summary and access the workbook in full via the following links:

'Greenhouses not Warehouses' (Four-page summary)

'Greenhouses not Warehouses' (Workbook)

Further Reading

The PLA has been calling for changes to prison education contracts since 2015, including in the briefing 'The Future of Prison Education Contracts: Delivering Better Outcomes'

The briefing outlined eight solutions which, with greater flexibility within the contracts, could enable prisons to achieve better rehabilitative outcomes. See also the following press release from the launch of the briefing in May 2015.