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Title and Reference – PCC/D/057
Subject: Award of Funding for PPU Counselling provision to the Counselling Foundation and Embrace CVOC
Report of: Police and Crime Commissioner
Date: 31/08/2022


In April 2022 following the Spending Review, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) announced a ring-fenced fund for services supporting victims of sexual violence (SV) and domestic abuse (DA). The total additional funding to DA/SV services nationally, including funds previously awarded (2020 – 2021) and services to be commissioned from 2022-2025, was announced as £21.7m. Overall this increases the MoJ’s commitment to funding victim and witness services to £192m a year by 2025.

This round of funding was split in to two specific opportunities; a ringfenced allocation for Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) and Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) roles and a larger allocation for broader DA and SV support services. The MoJ passed responsibility for the operating a transparent and competitive bidding process with providers to PCCs.
With only a short timeframe between the funding announcement and returns due to the MoJ (6th May 2022) Bedfordshire OPCC ensured that the opportunity was widely circulated to potential providers by publishing details of the opportunity on the OPCC website and circulating to partners.

Within the guidance for the funding provided by the MoJ there were several clear stipulations:

  • Funding must be used for new activity – this can include new service developments and initiatives or responding to increased demand, but not to support already funded activity or business as usual.
  • Funding must not be used to support accommodation services
  • Funding may be awarded to support casework, advocacy, counselling, and outreach activity that directly supports victims of crime.
  • The MoJ also encouraged bids that responded to specific identified areas of need nationally such as services for BAME and LGBTQ+ victims.
  • Due diligence must be completed for each organisation submitting bids (companies house/charities commission checks, financial checks & review of directors was completed).

The OPCC received bids for the DA/SV funding opportunity from 25 organisations totalling £1,779,012 (for year 1 of the 3 year fund).
These bids were reviewed, ranked in order of suitability and evidence of needs by members of the OPCC before return to the MoJ.


On the 24th May 2022 the OPCC was notified by the MoJ that funding had been awarded with £475,923.02 p.a. for 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25, for DA/SV victim support services. This equates to a total award of £1,427,769.06 over the 3 year period.

Funding for each financial year must be spent within the Financial Year (FY) that it is allocated to.

While initially instructed that decisions as to how the funding would be distributed against bids would be undertaken by the MoJ, the decision making was subsequently reverted to the OPCC.

Trauma Informed Counselling Bid

Helpfully the bids received by the OPCC had already been ranked in order of priority by members of the team. A further decision making exercise, with the knowledge of funding envelope, was undertaken by different members of the OPCC in the commissioning team using the local needs assessment, local knowledge and the MoJ guidance as a basis.

Ranking highly in both exercises was a bid from Bedfordshire Police Public Protection Unit, submitted by Detective Superintendent Zara Brown. The bid was for £180,000 per annum to provide Trauma Informed counselling to 50 child victims per year and 100 adult victim per year.

The OPCC wished to award funding in support of this bid to an area of well recognised and evidenced need. It was decided not to directly award to Bedfordshire Police as they would not be the first line provider of these services and the OPCC commissioning team had not only greater capacity and market knowledge to commission and mobilise services but also a responsibility for the due diligence, governance, and performance monitoring of the services in line with the grant agreement issued by the MoJ to the OPCC.

The OPCC commissioning team engaged with two providers to initiate the scoping phase of this project. The first was Embrace, due to their expertise in trauma informed counselling for child victims and who were named in the original submission to the MoJ via the Bedfordshire Police bid.

The second organisation was The Counselling Foundation who had also submitted a bid to the MoJ via the OPCC submission as a trauma informed counselling provider and so were a named provider eligible for award via this fund.

Both organisations were asked to submit a further proposal, tailoring their bid to the requirements set out by Bedfordshire Police Public Protection Unit. They were not informed of the value of funding available but were asked to submit proposals for various financial thresholds so that the OPCC could review value for money. Indeed, the proposals reflected that a greater level of capacity could be achieved than that originally scoped in the Bedfordshire Police initial bid.

Following these submissions, the Public Protection Unit (PPU) was consulted and asked to consider and reflect on the demand profile in the context of the proposals and advise were they felt demand was highest and the funding could be most advantageously implemented. Following discussion within the team it was advised that £90,000 be awarded to The Counselling Foundation to support 135 adults per year who had been victims of domestic abuse or sexual abuse. there will be a split of adult DA and SA victims and £90,000 be awarded to Embrace to support 128 child victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence per year.

Next Steps that will be taken by the OPCC:

  • Advise both organisations of the level of funding to be awarded
  • Hold mobilisation meetings with each provider and the PPU to double check operational viability for all parties, to outline performance and financial monitoring requirements and to establish referral routes and processes
  • To provide grant agreements outlining that the funding is available for 3 years subject to delivery and performance reviewed.
  • To host regular mobilisation meeting until both services are fully up and running
  • To hold quarterly performance review meetings and for a representative of PPU to be involved in these meetings
  • To regularly review underspends to ensure funding is fully and appropriately utilised


To note decision
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner
I hereby approve the recommendations above.

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