Decision Title: Joint-Commissioning of Drugs and Alcohol Misuse Services with Warwickshire County Council.
Decision Reference Number: WPCC3-0058
Lead Officer: Precious Williamson and Sara Ansell (Finance & Commissioning)
If force business, date approved by Chief Officer: n/a
Date: 15 June 2022
Status: Partly confidential
Commercially sensitive elements
Agreement to joint-commission Drugs and Alcohol Misuse Services (for adults and children and young people in the criminal justice system) with Warwickshire County Council (WCC) in April 2024. This will necessitate approval for an Exemption from Finance and Contract Regulations to extend current drugs and alcohol misuse contracts (provided by Compass and Change Grow Live) for a further 12 months (1st April 2023 to 31st March 2024) as an interim measure whilst the co-commissioning process with WCC for a new drugs and alcohol misuse service provision is implemented.
Signature: Philip Seccombe
Date: 29 June 2022
1. Background information
In 2018 the PCC commissioned a range of services for vulnerable victims in Warwickshire. These included a service for adults presenting into the criminal justice system with drug or alcohol misuse, and similar service for young people. Change Grow Live fulfil the former contract and Compass the latter. These services commenced in April 2018 and are contracted to run until the end of March 2023 with no further extension options.
Following the recent completion of the needs assessment by an independent consultant in February 2022, the Commissioner has commenced a new commissioning cycle for its victim services. For all other areas of service (i.e., general victims cope and recovery; sexual abuse and violence; child exploitation; modern slavery and human trafficking; and restorative justice) a Prior Information Notice has been issued notifying providers of the PCC’s intention to recommission services in April 2023.
In relation to the drugs and alcohol misuse needs identified in the assessment, the OPCC is exploring future commissioning arrangements with Warwickshire County Council (WCC). WCC also commissions Change Grow Live and Compass to deliver core drug and alcohol services for people who have general substance misuse issues, rather than those who present into the criminal justice system. WCC is also considering the future of its commissioning arrangements for Drugs and Alcohol. WCC’s contracts are in place until the end of March 2024, but they are supportive in principle of a joint commissioning process to ensure services are more effective and to drive economies of scale. The merits of adopting a joint commissioning process with WCC have already been considered in a separate Briefing Note by the PCC, Chief Executive Officer and Treasurer, some of these issues are outlined below.
Rationale for Joint Commissioning
In 2021, Dame Carol Black published a review into the landscape of drug and alcohol use in the UK, and current service provision. This was followed by the government launching a new 10 Year Drug Strategy.
Dame Carol Black’s Review, published prior to the Drug Strategy, observed the following:
“The current system of local commissioning is fractured, with different bodies responsible for different services and no real incentive for them to work together.”
“Police and Crime Commissioners, and the probation and prison services, must also establish effective partnerships to support diversion of offenders away from the criminal justice system and into local treatment, where interventions may be more cost-effective.
“Local partnerships should involve collaboration on needs assessment and commissioning plans.”
The Drug Strategy subsequently strongly encourages partnership work and joint commissioning arrangements:
“We are requiring local areas in England to have a strong partnership that brings together all the relevant organisations and key individuals, and to provide a single point of contact for central government.”
“We will also extend effective joint commissioning arrangements to serve populations in and out of drug and alcohol treatment services.”
Partnership work will be critical to making effective progress against the aims of the Drug Strategy in Warwickshire. The new Drug and Alcohol Strategic Partnership has been set up in order to facilitate this partnership working, and the landscape has is becoming increasingly suitable for joint-working. By jointly commissioning new services, we can help to ensure that Warwickshire has a holistic and joined-up approach that maximises available resources and minimises possible confusion or gaps that could arise by operating in silo.
Finally, WCC are unable to curtail their current commissioned contracts (which run until the end of March 2024) due to legal requirements to fulfil existing contracts, but the OPCC can utilise a legal exemption to extend ours. As a result, it makes sense for the OPCC to delay the termination of the current Drugs and Alcohol contracts in order to bring the timeline of our commissioning processes into line with those of WCC.
Warwickshire is already an example of best practice in terms of its rapid establishment of the necessary partnership structures to deliver the 10 Year Drug Strategy. By jointly commissioning future drug and alcohol services, Warwickshire will continue to operate ahead of the curve and demonstrate further best practice.
Commissioning and Procurement Process in 2022 and 2023
The proposed approach for recommissioning new services will consist of two phases (Phase 1 in 2022 and Phase 2 in 2023) over a period of two years.
Phase 1, has already commenced and will be conducted under a single procurement process with five separate lots. The procurement work is overseen by the OPCC Finance & Commissioning team and Warwickshire Police Procurement team. The aim is to procure the following services:
- The General Victim Cope and Recovery Services (Lot1)
- Sexual Abuse and Violence (SAV) Recovery Service (Lot 2)
- Child Exploitation (CE) Recovery Service (Lot 3)
- Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Service (new Lot 4).
- Restorative Justice (new Lot 5)
Providers appointed to deliver the services will commence service provision on 1st April 2023.
Phase 2, of the procurement process will focus on the service provision for people presenting into the criminal justice system with drugs or alcohol misuse. This means that the old Lot 4 and Lot 5 drugs and alcohol misuse services will be procured under a joint commissioning arrangement with Warwickshire County Council in April 2023. A commissioning process setting out clear timescales will be put into place between December 2022 and March 2024 in preparation for new service delivery from April 2024.
2. List of additional information attached as appendices
3. Expected benefits
A joint commissioning process will enable the OPCC to benefit from shared procurement and legal processes which will streamline commissioning activity and make sensible use of available resources. As part of the co-design of specifications and tender process the OPCC will ensure contract specifications are split into ‘Lots’ (i.e. an adult criminal justice service lot, and a youth service lot) to allow for full leverage over its services. This would allow the OPCC to choose organisations best suited to deliver against the criminal justice elements of drug and alcohol services, even if these organisations differ from those chosen by WCC.
It is also noteworthy there is already a positive example of joint commissioning arrangements in place in regards to the joint commissioning of the Domestic Abuse Support Service by the OPCC and WCC. The OPCC is included in Contract Monitoring meetings, and contributions by the OPCC through these are appropriately considered. This contract is also managed by the same team that would manage the Drugs and Alcohol joint contract, and so there is a good likelihood of a similarly positive experience.
4. Impact of not approving the application
By not signing up to joint working arrangements with local and regional partners, the OPCC will be distancing itself from the recommendations set out in the 10 Year Drugs Strategy and the ambition to deliver a holistic and joined-up approach that maximises available resources and minimises possible confusion or gaps that could arise by operating in silo.
5. Costs (including any identified savings)
By jointly commissioning services, it is expected that savings can be made or better value achieved through economies of scale or leverage of purchasing power by collaborating with WCC.
6. Equality implications
7. Legal comments
Legal and procurement advice has been sought.
Information in this form is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act) and other legislation. Unless the information provided is covered by an exemption and stated to be either confidential or partly confidential, the information contained in the form will be published on the OPCC website.
Comments from the Treasurer
The process of extending the current contracts and then jointly re-commissioning drug and alcohol support services brings many potential benefits from a service user perspective, and should also deliver a more efficient service. This will only become evident following a re-commissioning and compliant procurement exercise which will commence soon. The current contracts will need to be extended for a further year, to enable this process to occur, with new jointly commissioned services in place from April 2024. The budget for the commissioning process and service delivery from April 2024 onwards, will be built into the annual budget, and across the medium term financial plan.
Comments from the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer
This process has been worked through with support from legal and procurement professionals to ensure that the Police and Crime Commissioner is able to secure best value for money in services being commissioned.