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STRATEGY (2005) 64/2005

16 August 2005
To provide guidance on how to become the provider of choice for the
commissioner of services for offenders.
ACTION Immediate
Chief Officers and Board Members are asked to ensure that this circular is
drawn to the attention of all relevant staff, in particular Assistant Chief EXPIRY DATE:
Officers, Middle Managers and offender managers who may be involved with August 2006
preparing a region for Commissioning and Contestability.
SUMMARY Chairs of Probation Boards
From April 2006 existing services for offenders will be translated into a Chief Officers of Probation
purchaser-provider model with NOMS commissioning services from a range Secretaries of Probation Boards
of providers in the public, voluntary and private sectors. In order that regions
are able to compete effectively and successfully within these new CC:
arrangements the Business Development Unit has devised the attached Board Treasurers
strategy document.
Regional Managers
The Business Development Strategy document provides guidance to staff on
the key tasks for 2005/06 to develop NPS capabilities in preparation for
potential contests for contracts to deliver services for offenders.
David Griffiths, Head of the
Business Development Unit
Not applicable ATTACHED:
Annexe A: Business Development
Head of Business Development Unit: David Griffiths, 020 7271 0759,

Business Development Manager: Sam Latham, 020 7217 8118,

National Probation Directorate

Horseferry House, Dean Ryle Street, London, SW1P 2AW
Business Development Strategy
National Probation Service

The government agenda for Reforming our Public Services1 calls for
increased choice in the provision of public services. The Carter Report2 and
the Home Office response3 confirmed the government’s intention to establish
NOMS with contestability and commissioning as key themes.

From April 2006 existing services for offenders will be translated into a
purchaser-provider model with NOMS commissioning services from a range
of providers in the public, voluntary and private sectors. The NPS taking the
role of a provider agency. This transition to a market tested environment will
place increasing demands on NPS to compete to provide consistent high
quality services and value for money.


1. The NPS will seek to become the “provider of choice” for the
commissioner of services for offenders. This will be characterised by:
• Success in competition for contracts for service delivery
• Consistent and high quality delivery of specified services
• Innovation in effective service delivery
• Demonstrable value for money
• Adhering to the principles of inclusive design and delivery

2. The NPS seeks a positive collaborative and effective partnership with

the commissioners in order to achieve our goals of reducing
reoffending, protecting the public and increasing public confidence.
3. Where beneficial the NPS will extend partnerships with providers in the
public, voluntary and private sectors to add value to our services and to
gain complimentary capabilities.

Reforming our public services (Prime Minister’s office of public services reform), 2002
Managing offenders, reducing crime, Patrick Carter, 2003
Reducing crime-changing lives, Home Office, David Blunkett, 2004

In order to achieve these goals the NPS requires greater business capabilities
and acumen at an area, regional and national level. It is the role of the
Business Development Unit to lead and support regions and areas to develop
these skills and to ensure they are deployed through national, regional and
area strategies.

Business capabilities include the skills necessary for competing successfully;

such as contract bidding, contract management, financial analysis, and
market strategies. Whereas business acumen is focussed on how these skills
are used, how resources are deployed, and what partnerships are engaged to
ensure our success.

Business Development Plan 2005/6

The key task for 2005/6 is to develop NPS capabilities in preparation for
potential contests for contracts to deliver service for offenders. As these skills
are not evenly developed or distributed across the NPS key capabilities will be
pooled within regions according to regional Business Development Strategies.

The role of the Regional Manager, Chief Officer and Board Chairs will be key
in implementing this strategy which will be led and supported by the Business
Development Unit. This strategy will be implemented through the regions
performing the following activities.

• Establish a Regional Contestability Board. This team will provide a

strategic steer to the region on the transition to a market tested
environment. This Board will reflect its strategic purpose through the
inclusion of Chiefs, Chairs and Regional Managers as members.
• Establish a Regional Contestability Team. This team will undertake
relevant training and practical tasks to ensure the region is in a key
position to compete successfully. This team will comprise Assistant
Chief Officers and Middle Managers with relevant experience and
knowledge. Membership of this team may need to be varied,
depending on the nature of the bid.
• The Regional Contestability Team will undertake a mock regional
contestability exercise to develop and assess the team’s capabilities.
This exercise will be organised and led by the Business Development
• Prepare bids for additional funding streams e.g., ESF, OLASS
supported by BDU
• The region will undertake unit cost exercises, ensuring value for money
identified, supported by BDU
• With guidance from the BDU will draft a regional Business
Development Strategy (for approval by the Regional Contestability
Board and BDU) that will outline:
ƒ Regional negotiation strategies including agreement of SLAs
ƒ Identify the single point of contact for all information requests
from the ROM
ƒ Frequency and nature of meetings with the ROM
ƒ Information sharing protocol
ƒ Specific regional contestability projects such as Approved
Premises, or Unpaid Work,
ƒ Extending partnerships with public, voluntary and private sectors
at an area or regional level.
ƒ Undertake unit cost exercises supported by BDU

To support this work the Business Development Unit will prepare and support
regions through the following activities:
• Assist in the selection and continued support of the Regional
Contestability Team and Board
• To provide a skills audit and training plan, to identify gaps and
necessary training for the Regional Contestability teams and Boards
• To organise and deliver mock regional contestability exercises with the
Regional Contestability Team and external experts
• To identify strengths and areas for improvements in Regional
Contestability teams performance during the mock contestability
• To disseminate good practice in business development at area,
regional and national level and provide support as necessary
• To lead the Regional Contestability Team in the preparation, quality
assurance and submission of bids for contracts under contestability
• To monitor the delivery of services under contestability contracts
• Represent the NPS/NPD on the NOMS commissioning agenda,
including the commissioning and contestability programme board.
• To assist regions in the Unit cost exercises and identify some
standardised unit costings

The relationship with the ROM

The NPS region should seek a collaborative and equal partnership with the
ROM in order to achieve our shared goals. It is crucial within this partnership
that there are clear boundaries and that these are managed effectively to
avoid these boundaries becoming barriers.
The following needs to be considered in NPS regional relationships with the
• The NPS regions will need to work in partnership with the ROM to
agree the SLA’s for Offender Management and Interventions
• NPS regions will need to identify one single point of contact for all
information requests from the ROM, this is recommended to be at the
Chief/Chair or Regional Manager level.
• Only information in the public domain should be shared with the ROM,
(guidance will be issued by the BDU shortly to clarify this)
• The NPS region and the ROM need to be engaged in working to
deliver the objectives outlined in the Reducing reoffending Action plan