The Ministry of Justice has awarded £150,000 to 3SC, a consortium set up to help charities win public sector contracts, to help it identify barriers to third sector involvement in payment-by-results contracts.
The money is part of a £500,000 pot to help voluntary sector groups successfully bid for and deliver payment-by-results contracts for managing and reforming offenders.
The MoJ said it wanted 3SC to review existing evidence and work with other voluntary organisations to draft an action plan that identifies barriers to participation and sets out the steps the sector needs to take to overcome those barriers.
"The voluntary sector has a wealth of expertise and experience and a reputation for innovation," said Jeremy Wright, the minister for prisons and rehabilitation. "It is crucial we unlock this. This new funding will help to ensure voluntary sector organisations are given the right support."
Wright said that the remainder of the £500,000 budget would be spent on solving problems that were identified by the 3SC review. He said the review was an initial stage in the process.
"If they come back and say ‘it won’t work unless it’s done in the following way’, we will look at what needs to be done," he said.
Earlier this month the government announced an overhaul of the probation service that is likely to see responsibility for the rehabilitation of 265,000 offenders contracted out to the voluntary and private sectors, in a series of deals likely to be worth several hundred million pounds. A consultation on those proposals is currently taking place.