Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Ministry of Justice work could be worth billions of pounds to landlords

Stonham to bid for probation contracts

A housing association will bid for multi-billion pound probation service contracts when a government outsourcing scheme launches in August.

In the latest example of associations expanding into new sectors, Home Group’s care and support arm, Stonham, will bid alongside giant security firms and public sector contractors to take full control of the management of medium to low-risk offenders in several regions. They are yet to specify which regions, or how many they will bid for.

The Ministry of Justice is in the process of transferring work with offenders who have spent less than 12 months in custody to the private sector.

The department is splitting England and Wales into 21 regions, each of which will be managed by a single ‘prime’ operator, which will have overall responsibility for the region, and will bring in sub-contractors to help deliver the service.

Stonham is planning a bid for at least one of the contracts to become a prime regional provider.

Rachael Byrne, executive director for care and support at Home Group, said: ‘Stonham has always worked with offenders, so it’s a natural progression for us. We already have bail contracts, and this is really just a way of extending that work.

‘It is a challenging step, and a new step, but not a step to be fearful of. It is about providing housing and support to vulnerable people, which is a core part of our mission statement.’

She added that Stonham has operations in all 21 regions, and would consider bidding for any of them.

The association will complete and return a pre-tender questionnaire by August, and will find out whether it has won its bid in spring next year.

The MoJ values the contracts at between £5 billion and £20 billion over a 10-year-period.

Stephen Hughes, a partner at Bevan Brittan, which advises on the outsourcing of major public sector contracts, said: ‘The programme is looking for support in three principal areas: housing, unemployment and drug and alcohol abuse.

‘The engagement of registered providers is an essential ingredient in what will be a complex programme. This definitely marks a new direction of travel for the industry.’

Readers' comments (4)

  • So Home Group is off to join G4S and Serco then...

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  • At least Stonham has a professional and historical relationship with this client group so the contract outcomes stand a more realistic chance of achievement.

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  • Gresley - u got it right ! Stonhams historical relationship is unlikely to be 100% successful, but of course we the public do not always hear of the often very serious failures, especially as the local press now appear to be carrying less and less stories about failures in the criminal justice - mental health - drug and alcohol misuse areas, too close to local government for comfort ( those who we DARE NOT criticise ) !

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  • @ AnSapphireGael

    It would appear that you're not particularly familiar with the standard of some of the services Stonham provide. They crossed the divide some time ago, hence the reason they make tens of millions of pounds in surpluses each year whilst an increasing number of smaller providers, who actually care about delivering quality services, get screwed into oblivion as the days go by.

    This situation could, however, be managed if the statutory sector actually had any idea how to commission effectively.

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