Acevo launches programme to help charities win probation contracts

The initiative will help organisations to access up to £150,000 of support and overcome major commercial challenges, says Acevo's Ralph Michell

Ralph Michell
Ralph Michell

Acevo has launched a programme that provides access to £150,000 of support for charities hoping to win contracts under the new Ministry of Justice probation programme.

The programme will offer such services as analysis of how charities should position themselves in the market, financial planning, bid-writing, partnership and consortia building, and raising investment.

It is expected to help up to 10 large projects access support through the Cabinet Office’s £10m Investment and Contract Readiness Fund, for which Acevo is an approved provider.

The Readiness Fund offers grants of up to £150,000 through approved suppliers to social ventures hoping to win public sector contracts worth more than £1m.

Acevo’s initiative will be led by Richard Johnson, former director of Serco Welfare to Work, and delivered in conjunction with the social investment specialists Investing for Good and Neil Coulson Associates, which work with Acevo on consortia support services.

Ralph Michell, director of policy at Acevo, said that one of the key aims of the service would be building consortia, so the service would be likely to help more organisations.

He said voluntary organisations might also be able to access Ministry of Justice funding and the Right to Challenge fund offered by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

"The government’s reforms in offender rehabilitation present charities with massive opportunities – but they will not fall into our laps," Michell said. "The next 12 months are going to be hugely demanding, and we know from experience of the Work Programme that charities that want to thrive will be faced with major commercial challenges.

"We want to be able to do some substantial pieces of work to help them. If there is to be a voluntary sector prime provider, we want to be involved in supporting them."

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