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Office of the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner


Title and Reference – PCC/D/096
Subject: Extension of ISVA contract with Early Childhood Partnership
Report of: Police and Crime Commissioner
Date: 10/07/2023
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner have a contract with Early Childhood partnership to provide the ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor) service for Bedfordshire, recruiting core ISVAs to support victims of sexual assault and sexual violence across Bedfordshire inclusive of Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, and Luton.

Early Childhood Partnership were awarded a contract by 7 Force Commercial Services/ Procurement I on 1st October 2020 following a tender process. The contract was awarded for 3 years from 1st October 2020 to 30th September 2023 with extension potential for 1 x 12-month period, making the final expiry date of the contract 30th September 2024.

The contract was awarded for £509,402.46 in total for three years, with £180,000 allocation being provided from the Ministry of Justice each year of the agreement. The remaining funding has been met each year of the contract by Bedfordshire Police who contribute towards the ISVA that is based within the SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre). The MOJ provides ringfenced funding for IDVA and ISVA services, the 5 ISVA recruited through Bedfordshire OPCC contribute towards the uplift of 700 ISVAs nationally as outlined in the grant agreement from the MoJ to the OPCC.

Early Childhood Partnership have been monitored during their contract and have been providing quarterly monitoring returns and attending monitoring meeting with the newly developed Commissioning Team since July 2022. Early Childhood Partnership recruit 5 ISVAs and have been providing the service without concern during the term of their contract to date.

The Commissioning Strategy developed in 2022 outlines a commitment to working closely with 7 Force Commercial Services and adhering to the local Financial Regulations and Contract Standing Orders which set out the following financial thresholds:

• £0-£5,000 – one written quote required to commission services
• £5,000 – £50,000 – three written quotes required to commission services
• £50,000 and above – services to be commissioned via competitive tender.

In cases where the contract value is over £50,000, all funding opportunities will be communicated transparently via the OPCC website and on the EU Supply 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 consider quality, value for money and social value.

The ISVA contract expires on 30th September 2023, with a value to be allocated over the £50,000 threshold, there is a requirement for the service to be commissioned via competitive tender. To complete a full competitive tender, the Commissioning team are required to develop a specification and progress the opportunity in accordance with the Procurement timeline which takes 9-12 months given time taken from a needs assessment to the awarding the contract after comprehensive evaluation.

Procurement have confirmed the ability to use the 12-month extension potential to continue the contact to enable a tender process to take place. Due to capacity restraints within 7 Force Commercial Services following a team restructure and the Commissioning Team following a lack of adequate staff provision with the necessary skills and resourcing levels, the tender process was unable to begin in January 2023 to enable awarding before the contract period ends.


A recommendation is made to extend the ISVA service, delivered by Early Childhood Partnership by the full 12-month extension potential, to ensure suitable time for a competitive tender process to take place. The recommendation is for the service to be extended to 30th September 2024, allowing a 12-month time period for a needs assessment and tender process to take place. Procurement are sighted and agree with the use of the extension potential given resourcing issues that are being experienced in both departments.

To align the service to the financial year, a further recommendation is made for the specification to offer a contract period of 2 years and 6 months to bring the service in line with the financial year.

It is proposed that this service goes live on 1st October 2024.
There is an existing service in place so Transfer of undertakings protection of employment rights (TUPE) will be a consideration.
The below timeframes are proposed:
– Early April 2024 – Release of Invitation to Tender (to allow for 35 days to respond)
– Early June 2024 – Evaluation of bids
– July 2024 – Award contracts/grants to allow for up to 3-months mobilisation including TUPE process if relevant.
1st October 2024 – Service to go live.

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

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