A new era of prison governor-led education commissioning is about to begin.

Governors will be fully responsible for procuring education services within their prisons, giving them choice and control over how their education budget is spent and the type of provision on offer within the prison.  There are currently 102 prisons that will be able to call off services from the PEF DPS, housing approximately 73,000 prisoners.  Services are likely to be multiple, small value opportunities delivered over a 12-month period (under £100k) specific to local prison needs, such as Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG), careers education, pre-release support, family learning, and arts and creative projects.

On the 24th August the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) will release an OJEU notice to open the PEF DPS and enable training providers to join an approved supplier list.  Organisations interested in registering on the DPS and responding to call-off competitions can sign up now via the MoJ Bravo Solutions portal. An unlimited number of suppliers can join at any point. There will then be two stages to undertake:

1. Registering on the DPS:  Organisations will be required to provide the following information:

  • Complete a small number of standard selection questions, consisting of 3 parts:
    • Supplier Information (general organisational details)
    • Exclusion grounds (mandatory & discretionary)
    • Selection questions focused on technical & professional ability, and financial viability
  • Provide a concise biography to enable governors to understand the type of organisations on the DPS
  • Provide 3 references (new providers will have the option of submitting an explanation for why no references can currently be provided)
  • Fill in a tick box section providing the category of services you can deliver in and the geographical areas you can deliver to.

2. Responding to call-off competitions:  First competitions are expected to be released 30 days after the OJEU notice. Governors will complete and upload an order form that suppliers registered under the relevant category area will be able to view. In response, interested suppliers can complete and upload a bid form (we anticipate this will be within a 2-week timescale) that will include the following requirements:

  • Two Quality questions (80% of total score):
  1. Describe how you intend to meet requirements (2 pages approx.)
  2. Describe staff who will be delivering the service (2 pages approx.)
  • Pricing proposal (20% of total score). Providers will need to outline a fixed price per learner, which will be paid monthly in arrears. A performance element may be incorporated for provision lasting over 6 months, although this is likely to be no more than 5% of total payment.

Opportunities will be uploaded on to the DPS throughout the year, rather than at specific points. Delivery of call-off services is expected to start from April 2019 onwards with the exception of IAG delivery, which will start as soon as possible after the first mini-competition has been won.

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