Bedfordshire Police Headquarters

Bridgebury House, Woburn Road, Kempston, Bedfordshire, MK43 9AX

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Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Commissioning Strategy 2023


This strategy has been developed to set out the approach to commissioning that will be taken by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire (OPCC).

Commissioning is the process of assessing needs, planning and prioritising, purchasing and monitoring services, to achieve outcomes. To do so the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) awards funding to organisations in the county who contribute to the delivery of the objectives set out in the Police and Crime Plan 2021-24. Broadly this falls into four priorities within the Police and Crime Plan:

  • Investment in community-based and community-led policing for urban and rural areas
  • Tackling the causes of crime and breaking the cycle of re-offending
  • Placing residents and victims at centre of policing priorities
  • Multi-agency and transparent approach to community safety and crime reduction.


Within this document is an outline of how the OPCC will, through our commissioning activity,  keep the needs of local people at the heart of commissioning choices,  guarantee funding opportunities are awarded after a fair, transparent and open process and ensure quality services are provided by holding commissioned organisations to account with robust performance monitoring. The aim of which, whether it be funding services to help prevent or recover from crime, is to make sure that our communities are supported and safe.

For an overview of services currently and previously commissioned by Bedfordshire PCC click here: Commissioned Services – Bedfordshire PCC

The Commissioning Cycle

This commissioning strategy is underpinned by the ‘Commissioning Cycle’.

The Commissioning Cycle (shown below) illustrates the ongoing activity that is required to ensure that the process of commissioning retains focus on effectiveness and efficiency.

A chart showing the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner Commissioning Strategy and Cycle

Using the Commissioning Cycle as a basis, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire has developed more detailed commissioning principles outlined below.

Commissioning Principles


The OPCC will explore and consider opportunities to co-commission services with local partner agencies including local authorities and other statutory organisations such as the NHS. Not only will this approach seek to benefit from a shared local knowledge and expertise but also ensure that commissioned services are responding holistically to service user need.

Co-design & Market Engagement

When commissioning new services or re-commissioning existing services the OPCC will consult broadly with partners, local and national subject experts and the public so that they have a voice in the design of services. This will be achieved through consultations exercises and continued service user feedback where services are already operating.

In addition, we will involve existing and potential providers spanning the public, private and VCSE sectors in market engagement events and activities. In this way we will seek expert views on proposed specifications and encourage a wide interest in bidding for tender opportunities.

Needs & Evidence Based Commissioning

All commissioning activity will be based upon a prior needs assessment supported by a quantitative and qualitative evidence base developed by working with partners including Bedfordshire Police. This will ensure that commissioned services are reflective of, and specifically targeted to, the needs of the communities of Bedfordshire.

Open and Transparent Processes

Working closely with 7 Force Commercial Services we will adhere to the local Financial Regulations and Procurement Contract Standing Orders which set out the following financial thresholds:

  • £0-£6,000 – one written quote required to commission services
  • £6,00-£60,000 – three written quotes or use of e-tendering system required to commission services
  • £60,001 and above – services to be commissioned via competitive tender with involvement from Procurement


In cases where the contract value is over £60,00, all funding opportunities will be communicated transparently via the OPCC website and on the E-Tendering Portal. Details of the opportunity including a specification of need, funding envelope and evaluation criteria will be shared openly via these channels.

A comprehensive evaluation of tender responses will be supported by an independent panel member and take into account quality, value for money and social value.


When responding to specifications for new services organisations will be encouraged to explore utilising innovative approaches and practices. Within existing services, providers will be monitored on and supported in developing such practices. In doing so the OPCC will encourage a service delivery which is consistently responsive to service user need, technological developments and a robustness and efficiency to respond to increasing demand levels.

Continuous Improvement

Within commissioned services a culture of continuous improvement will be adopted. To achieve this, funded services will be required to seek feedback from their users and will be supported by the OPCC to incorporate this into business cases for development and change where necessary.  As part of continuous improvement services will be encouraged to horizon scan and maintain awareness of relevant legislative changes, partnership and community activities or additional funding opportunities.

Social Value

The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 requires commissioners to consider broader social, economic and environmental benefits to their area when making commissioning decisions. As such Bedfordshire OPCC commissioning processes will include a requirement for social value consideration in tender opportunities. Service providers can respond to this requirement in a number of ways including the employment of local people or the support of local charities and in doing so create an additional social value for communities.

Monitoring & Performance Outcomes

All commissioned services will be robustly monitored by the OPCC. This will include the review of Key Performance Indicators to evidence outputs, including user feedback to ensure positive outcomes are achieved for service users. Regular financial returns will also be required from all commissioned providers. The insights gained in the monitoring process will be fundamental in the design of future specifications and services.


The Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire has two funding streams from which awards can be made which contribute to the delivery of the objectives within the Police and Crime Plan.

Ministry of Justice Funding

Police and Crime Commissioners were given responsibility for commissioning support services for victims of crime in 2014 along with an annual grant from the Ministry of Justice. An amendment to section 56 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 and the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 allows for this.

Ministry of Justice Funding is specifically used in the specialist support of victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, counselling services and support of victims of all other crime types. Services commissioned under the Ministry of Justice funding stream must be accessible to all victims of crime regardless of whether the crime has been reported to the police or how long ago the crime was have been committed.

Community Safety Fund

The PCC’s Community Safety Fund is utilised to support services in the following areas:

  • Mental Health
  • Volunteers
  • Adult Offender Management
  • Youth Offender Management
  • Domestic Abuse Offender Focus
  • Early Intervention
  • Police and Crime Plan Delivery

Funding Awards

Funding may either be awarded via a Grant Agreement or a Contract.

Grants are defined as “contributions to a specific or broad range of activities” rather than a contractually agreed service specification. The award of a Grant enables the Commissioner to responsively award funding to providers to support immediate or emerging issues or to conduct a short-term project or pilot. Grant Agreements will be subject to the same commissioning principles outlined within this strategy including due diligence and regular performance monitoring.

Contracts are put in place following a formal procurement process and legally bind a provider to delivering to an agreed service specification. They are usually awarded for multiple years and can include extension options.

In unique circumstances a Single Tender Action may be considered. This allows a contract to be awarded without a competitive procurement process where there is evidence that only one supplier is able to carry out the services required. This approach would only be considered after comprehensive market engagement and research.

Commissioning Process Map

Our Commissioning Process map can be found here.

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