Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation

And justice for all?

In response to the government's consultation on its "Transforming Rehabilitation" proposals GMCVO has developed a discussion paper, attached below, to help inform the debate.

This paper seeks not to consider the merits of reform of the criminal justice system (CJS) but to consider the implications of such reforms for voluntary sector organisations and the communities they serve. An attempt is also made to understand how these reforms will impact upon the emerging public service delivery structures in Greater Manchester.

If we are to maintain the confidence of the public in the criminal justice system it is essential that the detail of implementation of these proposals does deliver justice for all. There is an opportunity in any system redesign to address historic inefficiencies and inequalities but also a risk that without careful preparation and implementation, good practice is lost and new inequalities generated. Clearly GMCVO welcomes the opportunity for the sector to influence proposals at this stage and to inform such planning and preparation.

This paper should not be seen as a direct response to the proposals but an attempt to inform the debate. We are interested in a dialogue with any organisation that might add supporting information to any points or provide a critical perspective of our analysis. Issues raised by this paper include:

• Whilst many in the sector have given a cautious welcome to the opportunities the proposals may generate, it is important to recognise that the proposals will also present a range of challenges to many providers. However, the impact of these proposals on the communities we serve, rather than our own organisations, should guide our responses to this consultation.

• The significant changes to state commissioning will require significant changes to voluntary sector provision. Organisations will have to make significant changes to their operations and will need strong governance and effective user engagement. It should also not be assumed that existing providers will be the providers of the future.

• In the competitive market implicit in the proposals organisations will often be required to choose between delivering at scale or value. Delivery at scale will require organisations to be of a significant size and able to mobilise capital. To deliver value organisations will need clear market differentiation, expertise and specialism.

• Many organisations engaged in the Work Programme have encountered difficulties in providing a service through spot purchasing mechanisms. Many voluntary organisations may need to redevelop their business models in order to engage with such mechanisms and may need external support.

• The design of a payment by results model will inevitably result in an incentive to target resources where they may generate the greatest return. An inexpertly designed model may result in unintended consequences and without careful development of these proposals we have concerns that existing inequalities with our neighbourhoods may be further amplified.

• Many offenders have multiple needs and may require complex interventions. These services, such as the delivery of mental health services, may necessarily be commissioned by other public sector bodies and so commissioning needs to be integrated. We believe that the introduction of Police & Crime Commissioners should provide opportunities to realise this.


justice for all final 0113.doc546 KB