News & Blog

Check out this page to find out what we've been up to, hear our honest take on the state of play in commissioning and procurement, and to keep up to date with the latest developments at Candour Collaborations!

Clinks’ Transforming Rehabilitation Legal Support Project

Clinks is providing free legal support to the voluntary sector to engage with Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) through their TR Legal Support Project, funded by the Ministry of Justice.

VCSE organisations will be able to access information about the contracting process for TR, including legal information and bespoke legal advice sessions.

We thoroughly recommend that if your organisation is considering entering into subcontracting agreements to deliver services within TR, you make the most of these free, comprehensive resources. (more…)

Transforming Rehabilitation Workshops

In partnership with ACEVO and NCVO, Candour Collaborations will be delivering the next events in our series aiming to raise awareness and understanding of the Ministry of Justice’s Transforming Rehabilitation competition.

These free events are aimed at VCSE organisations wishing to participate in the competition and aim to present an honest view of the procurement process including the potential operational and commercial challenges.

Most of the events will be held on a regional basis and attendance will not be restricted by the region your organisation is based in, please attend the event which is most convenient to you. (more…)

First past the post in Transforming Rehabilitation: Successful PQQ Bidders

Thirty bidders who have passed the first stage of a competition to win regional rehabilitation contracts and lead the new era in a fight against reoffending have been named by the Ministry of Justice.

The bidders represent a diverse mix of partnerships comprising more than 50 organisations. Private firms, charities experienced in tackling a range of issues affecting offenders, small and large British businesses and experienced multinationals have joined together to bid for the work that will help turn offenders’ lives around. Mutuals formed by probation staff also have the opportunity to play a major role in the reforms, with around a third of the shortlisted bidders including these groups.

We do not yet know how many organisations competed for the PQQ opportunity, or how many bidders have been shortlisted for each of the 21 contracts available across England and Wales. The short listed bidders are as follows:

Bidder name

Partners Include



Fabrick Housing; the Wise Group; Safe in Tees Valley; Tees Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust; the Vardy Foundation; Changing Lives in the North East CIC (potential Durham Tees Valley staff Mutual) ; Stockton Borough Council; Darlington Borough Council

Aspire2 Change Ltd (Essex Probation Trust potential Mutual)

Capita Plc

Chalk Ventures Ltd

A4e Ltd; Bridges Ventures LLP; Co:here (potential Kent Surrey Sussex staff Mutual)

Crime Reduction Initiatives Ltd

CRR Partnership Ltd

Carillion Plc, Reed in Partnership Ltd; Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust (RAPt)

EOS Works Ltd


Geo Group UK Ltd; Delta Rehabilitation Ltd (potential Humberside staff Mutual)


Sodexo; Greater Manchester and Cheshire Staff Group (potential Greater Manchester and Cheshire Staff Mutual)

Hampshire Rehabilitation Services

Hampshire County Council; Altered Images Management Ltd (potential Hampshire Probation Trust Staff Mutual)

Home Group Ltd

Ingeus UK

Ingeus UK; St Giles Trust; Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI)

Innovo (CLM) Ltd

Innovo (CLM) (potential Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside staff Mutual); The Manchester College

Interserve Investments Ltd

Home Group and Mercia Community Action

Home Group; Mercia Community Action (Mercia Community Action is a CLG comprising a potential mutual of staff from West Mercia and Warwickshire Probation Trust and Willowdene Rehabilitation)

Momentis and Home Group

Home Group; Momentis (potential Mutual including Leicestershire and Rutland Probation Trust staff)

MTC Amey

MTC (UK) Ltd; Amey Community Ltd

Northern Inclusion Consortium Ltd

DISC; The Cyrenians; Groundwork NE; Mental Health Concern; Spectrum Community Health CIC

Pertemps People Development Group

Prospects Services

Prospects Resolutions Ltd

Prospects Services; Resolutions Ltd (potential West Yorkshire staff mutual)

Seetec Business Technology Centre Ltd

Sentinel Offender Services Ltd

Shaw Trust

Shaw Trust; (potential involvement of Dorset Devon and Cornwall staff mutual)

Sodexo UK & Ireland

The GEO Group UK Ltd

The Manchester College

The Rehabilitation Company

Catch 22 Ltd; Turning Point; Williams Lea (division of DHL)

Working Links

Transforming Rehabilitation: Information Events for VCSE providers

Held on 7th – 18th October 2013 in Exeter, Cardiff, Birmingham, Gatwick, London, Newmarket, Nottingham, Manchester, Leeds, and Newcastle

These well-received events information workshops provided delegates with an overview of the procurement process, the key requirements of the specification and importantly, the potential operational and commercial challenges.

They also looked at the Self-assessment Checklist which sets out the key aspects and implications of the Transforming Rehabilitation competition which organisations will need to consider in order to engage with it fully. They also generated a lot of interesting discussion – thank-you to everyone that participated!




The next set of events will be networking sessions for potential Tier 2 and 3 providers to meet the shortlisted Tier 1 providers. These will be held in each of the 21 Contract Package Areas. Please keep an eye on Acevo’s website for further details and event booking information.


Transforming Rehabilitation Information Events for VCSE providers

Candour Collaborations,  ACEVO and NCVO have been awarded a grant from the Ministry of Justice to deliver a series of events to the VCSE sector to raise awareness and understanding of the Transforming Rehabilitation competition.

The series of events will run throughout the competition at a number of locations across the country and will cover everything from general information to in-depth sessions on TUPE implications (further details below). The events will be aimed at VCSE organisations wishing to participate in the competition and aim to present an honest view of the procurement process including the potential operational and commercial challenges.

Most of the events will be held on a regional basis and attendance will not be restricted by the region your organisation is based in, please attend the event which is most convenient to you. However, the Networking events will be held at Contract Package Area (CPA) level so we would ask that you only attend these events in the areas that you are interested in delivering in. These events will provide a forum for the shortlisted prime contractors in each CPA to introduce themselves to the VCSE sector.

Please see the links below for further details:

Event Dates  Book
Information events 7th – 18th October Book Now
Networking events November/December Coming soon
Unit costs and impact measurement events December Coming soon
Negotiation skills events January Coming soon
TUPE and pensions events March Coming soon


When it rains, it pours: (weather) forecasting of commissioning activity

In a slightly random and tangential way, our latest blog compares commissioning and procurement activity to the side effects of global warming: full of droughts, and floods.

Obviously, commissioning doesn’t have much to do with increased levels of carbon dioxide (though you could argue commissioners can be full of hot air), but I’m sure you get the symbolism. We go through periods when there are too many tender opportunities to manage, and others when there is nothing out there to bid for. But can, and do, commissioners consider other government departments’ commissioning pipelines when they consider their own?

Arguably, it’s not always practically possible to work cross-departmentally in this way. Each department has timeframes for their commissioning activity, sometimes linked to somewhat arbitrary goals like Christmas, others slightly less so – the end of the financial year, or even general elections. But if commissioners did plan collaboratively, surely it would be a good thing? Both in terms of demand – the market being able to submit high-quality bids – and in terms of supply – commissioners taking into account other complementary, aligned or even counter-effective procurement activity, considering the effects of this, and designing their commissioning to have a positive multiplier effect, rather than the opposite.

So how do we at Candour Collaborations see the current state of play? As a broad rule, public sector procurement comes in peaks and troughs. Summertime can be worryingly quiet, yet Christmas can be manic. I don’t know any business development professionals who haven’t had to work at least one Christmas Day. Right now, in two of our core markets – employability and skills – contractors of services to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Skills Funding Agency (SFA) are looking for the ‘next big show in town’. For many, this will be the National Careers Service procurement, which was due to be competed in July 2012. Following significant delays (do we call them ‘significant’ when we’ve already been waiting 13 months?!), it is now anticipated to be tendered relatively soon.

However, with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) having just commenced Transforming Rehabilitation procurement, worth up to £20bn over the next ten years, few in the marketplace will have sufficient resources to bid directly for both. Yet it’s completely logical that a company that delivers adult employability services via DWP Work Programme may also be interested in bidding for similar provision to young people through the Education Funding Agency (EFA), or to ex-offenders through MoJ, or to also deliver accredited training to these same people via SFA.

And if it all kicks off at once, does anyone but the ‘big fish’ have the required capacity and capability in-house to deal with simultaneous, highly-demanding, and strategically significant tenders? When turnaround times for submission are ridiculously short, this puts even greater pressure on many organisations to make choices about what they do and don’t bid for. Especially those smaller, local organisations which cannot afford to simply throw money at consultancy or temporary resources. This gives larger companies with greater resources a clear competitive advantage.  And it’s not exactly a rare occurrence.

To illustrate the point, we once had an important tender released to market on the 20th December, with a turnaround of just 10 days, whilst working simultaneously on two other bids…in a team of three. So that’s any hope of seasonal festivities out of the window, then! We buckled down, prioritised and worked day and night to get good-quality bids submitted. Just because commissioners can accelerate procurement rounds doesn’t mean they should.

What can we do about it, though? We can build in contingency planning around potential commissioning delays to minimise the impact of their occurrence, we can advocate for fair tender timescales, and we can create additional funding to support smaller organisations to compete on a larger scale (as the ICRF fund aims to do). We can try to work with commissioners so that they, when possible, publish their commissioning intentions (as some do already: MoJ, DWP) and that when planning procurement, they consider the pipelines of other departments. But this doesn’t stop departments commissioning something that significantly deviates from their published documents.

Commissioners and wider Government say they want a competitive and diverse provider base. As we have all seen, their activity can actually drive the opposite.  It isn’t just about timing of procurement rounds either (I should probably insert something here about temperate weather conditions…), it’s about the resource implications of implementing multiple contracts, and the cash flow issues created by a wider move to Payment by Results contracting as standard. This is a challenging time, and a challenging marketplace to compete in. Many organisations are already having difficulty adapting to the changing environment.  We should celebrate and encourage a diverse provider base, which can help people to address a range of needs. Yet how can they win the contracts to do so when they’re all busy carrying around massive metaphorical brollies, sun glasses and buckets of suntan lotion?

Let us know your thoughts, via Contact Us.