POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER FOR BEDFORDSHIRE
Title and Reference – PCC/D/099
Subject: Allocation of Additional Funding from the MoJ for the Commissioning of Victim Support Services
Report of: Police and Crime Commissioner
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner was informed on 28th June 2023 that an uplift of £27,911.27 would be provided to the Core fund as allocated by the Mistry of Justice (MoJ) for use by 31st March 2024. The purpose of the additional funding is to provide, or commission dedicated emotional and practical support services for Victims of Crime to help them cope and as far as possible, recover from the effects of crime.
Throughout quarterly monitoring meetings in 2022/2023, the Commissioning team worked with three Counselling Services, providing therapeutic support with Embrace supporting children and young person victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, The Counselling Foundation supporting adult domestic abuse and sexual violence victims and Living Your Life, providing therapeutic support to 10 specific cohorts. Through the review of quarterly monitoring returns, it was established that therapeutic services and counselling were in high demand with particular focus on those with specific requirements and complex needs.
During 2022-2023, the OPCC recognised an increase in demand for counselling services and a need for therapeutic support from victims with complex needs.
Living Your Life fully allocated all funded sessions by Quarter 3 of the financial year with some cohorts fully subscribed in quarter 2. The OPCC were able to award £27,064.00 additional funding using MoJ underspend to Living Your Life in quarters 4 as there was a need for additional support and a focus was suggested on two additional cohorts, Sexual Violence Survivors with a Mental Health Diagnosis and Parents of Victims of Child Sexual Abuse.
The Counselling Foundation, during 2022-2023 were provided with additional funding provided by an uplift from the MoJ, The uplift was provided as per the rationale below;
The Counselling Foundation – DA counselling sessions – £15,400
The Counselling Foundation had forecast that they would support 65 clients throughout 2022/23 and were awarded £30,000 to do so. In quarter 1 & 2 of the year they have already supported 50 individuals and are forecasting demand will continue at a similar rate. On this basis we propose to fund The Counselling Foundation an additional £15,400 to support an additional 35 clients for 8 sessions at a cost of £55 a session.
The Counselling Foundation – SV counselling sessions – £4,840
The Counselling Foundation had forecast that they would support 45 clients throughout 2022/23 and were awarded £20,000 to do so. In quarter 1 & 2 of the year they have already supported 28 individuals and are forecasting demand will continue at a similar rate. On this basis we propose to fund The Counselling Foundation an additional £4,840 to support an additional 11 clients for 8 sessions at a cost of £55 a session.
During 2022-2023, Embrace provided 3 KIDVAs and 1 KISVA to support children and young people who experienced domestic abuse and sexual violence, with a view to reallocate underspend in quarter 2, to high-risk clients where the opportunity arose.
The Commissioning Function also recognised through monitoring returns that victims often present with complexities, having highlighted that during the financial year 2022-2023, 32% of victims supported via the MoJ fund reported to have a disability and almost 18% of victims requiring additional support in terms of housing, financial support, or additional need and almost all services funded via the MoJ reporting mental health vulnerabilities.
Progressing into 2023-2024, the OPCC have started to liaise with Bedfordshire Victim Care Service and Bedfordshire Police as service users of commissioned services funded by the OPCC, during such conversations a request for additional complex needs/ trauma focused counselling was requested for children and young people or adults as demand is seen through their departments.
A suggestion was made to utilise the additional £27,911.27 funding to provide additional counselling services with a focus on trauma informed practise/ supporting complex needs victims.
A request was made by the Commissioning Officer on 16th June 2023 to the three counselling services funded by the OPCC, Embrace, The Counselling Foundation and Living Your Life to provide a proposal for additional funding beyond their core grant agreements.
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 request for three proposals from the current service providers was compliant with the above stated regulations, with the funding being between £5,000-£50,000.
Two organisations responded to the proposal request, being Embrace and Living Your Life and The Counselling Foundation contacted the Commissioning Team with a clarification question however a proposal was not submitted.
Following input from Bedfordshire Police Emerald Team, a request for complex trauma support via extended counselling provision was requested. A request was made for Bedfordshire Police to have the ability to spot purchase counselling provision from specialist services, responding to the needs of children, adults, and specialisms, as some cases require greater support than the 12 weeks core service provided through current MoJ funded services. The request for longer term support, with potential for up to 24 weeks counselling provision is demand led following experience with clients who have either lengthy victim journey where they have experienced multiple traumatic incidents or for victims who have experienced traumatic incidents over a sustained period of time (childhood to adulthood) causing their trauma responses to be more complex.
A recommendation is to obtain 3 quotes for Counselling services, one from each of our current providers (to allow for extension of current referral pathways given short period of funding reducing the need for a mobilisation period), to align with Financial thresholds. Each organisation will be contacted to understand their capacity and ability to provide complex counselling provision to the extent of 24 sessions per client with a spot purchasing approach, responding to referrals from Bedfordshire Police.
It is proposed that funding would be provided to each provided based on activity. A single purchase order would be raised for the funding allocation of £27,911.27, and each organisation will be asked to report on their activity, and invoicing will be permitted in arrears, after a quarterly monitoring meeting, to be completed in accordance with the financial year.
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner
I hereby approve the recommendations above.