New prison education contract commissioning
Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) contracts come to an end in prisons in 2019, making way for a new system of education commissioning. Prisons are being given increasing flexibility and control over education budgets and the ability to commission a wide range of provision.
For a quick breakdown of the changes, click here to read a blog by PET's CEO, Rod Clark (June 2018).
Prison Education Framework (PEF): the latest updates
Suppliers have now been chosen for each lot of the Prison Education Framework (PEF) (which will provide a core curriculum of education in each prison).
Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS): the latest updates
Here are the latest dates for the roll-out of the Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS), which will allow governors to commission more specialist or short-term education services to suit their prison population.
|17 October 2018||The deadline for suppliers to be on the DPS at the earliest point possible.|
|1 November 2018||The evaluation period for the first tranche of applicants ends.|
|8 November 2018||First tranche contracts signed.|
|9 November 2018||Earliest date for prisons to issue requirements for applicants already on the DPS to compete to provide services against those requirements.|
|9 November 2018||The DPS then reopens for applications to join from other suppliers.|
For more information about the PEF and DPS, please see below.
To stay up to date with announcements on this fast-moving area of reform, click here to sign up to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) online 'Bravo Solutions' sourcing portal.
Prison Education Framework (PEF)
From April 2019, the majority of education services in each prison will be commissioned through the new Prison Education Framework (PEF), which will provide a core curriculum of education in each prison.
The commissioning process will determine the provider of this core curriculum in each prison, with prison being divided into lots that potential providers can bid for. The core curriculum is English, Maths, ICT and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and the prime provider must provide for these subjects as a minimum. They may also bid to provide a wider curriculum.
The Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the Prison Education Framework was released in February 2018 - click here to sign up and view via the MoJ sourcing portal.
The MoJ confirmed the winners of the PEF contracts with the relevant providers in September 2018 - click here to find out the names of the successful bidders for the 17 lots.
Some of the key documents in the ITT are linked below. Sign up to the MoJ sourcing portal above to access all of the documents.
- ITT for the Prison Education Framework (PEF) - Information Document
- Appendix 1 - Prison Education Framework Lots
- Appendix 13 - The New Prison Education System for Adults in England
- Appendix 14 - Commissioning Data spreadsheet
The Prison Education Framework (PEF) will be supplemented by a DPS, which will allow governors to commission more specialist or short-term education services to suit their prison population. An unlimited number of suppliers can join or leave the DPS at any time, and bid for the different services being requested by governors, in a process designed to be much simpler and more flexible than through the PEF - for prison commissioning teams and potential suppliers. The DPS is designed to complement the PEF and give governors more flexibility in the education services they can offer in their prison.
The MoJ ran a separate market engagement exercise for the DPS via Bravo Solutions, which closed on 18 September 2018.
As of September 2018, the DPS is now live. The Invitation to Participate documents are available on Bravo Solutions via PQQ_130. People and organisations interested in providing education services under the DPS are being encouraged to register on that PQQ, so they can download the documents and prepare their responses.
See the resources below for more on the DPS:
- Latest DPS Q&A, issued by MoJ on 29th August 2018 (view here)
- Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) / MoJ roundtable event on the DPS - 22 March (read Q&A here)
- Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) Supplier Webinar - 13 March (see slides)
See below for a list of events and resources provided by the MoJ on the changes to commissioning:
- A round-up of questions and responses regarding library services (read here)
- Business Services Assocation (BSA) roundtable event (see MoJ notes from Q & A)
- Webinar 4: Education provisions in prisons - 12 December 2017 (see slides; see MoJ notes from Q & A)
- Webinar 3: Education provisions in prisons - 28 November 2017 (see slides; see MoJ list of potential supplier details)
- A roundup of questions asked via the MoJ portal, up to 21 November 2017 (read here)
- Digital Webinar: Digital education provision in prisons - 15 November 2017 (see slides)
- Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) / MoJ roundtable event - 14 November 2017 (see MoJ notes from Q & A)
- Webinar 2: Education provisions in prisons - 9 November 2017 (see slides; see MoJ notes from Q & A)
- Webinar: Education provisions in prisons - 3 October 2017 (see slides; see MoJ notes from Q & A)
- Richard Ward from the MoJ Prison Reform Policy, Offender Reform and Commissioning Group gave a presentation at the PLA Conference - 14 September 2017 (see slides and the accompanying article: 'MoJ: the expectations and options behind governor commissioning')
- Prison Education Reform Roundtable Event - 1 August 2017 (see MoJ notes from Q & A)
- Prison Education Framework Market Engagement Introduction - 21 July 2017 (see slides)
To stay up to date with future engagement events, sign up to the MoJ online 'Bravo Solutions' portal at this link.
The PLA has been summarising its key findings as the changes progress - read more below:
- 'Prison Education Reforms: What are the opportunities for voluntary sector organisations?' (PET Chief Executive Rod Clark's Clinks blog - June 2018)
- 'Things we know, and things we don’t: an update' (October 2017)
- '10 things we know (and 10 we don’t) about changes to prison education' (August 2017)
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:
Further PLA Publications
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.