Nacro wins £25m contract to support low-risk offenders

The Ministry of Justice has given the social justice charity the contract to run the Bail Accommodation and Support Service for three years

The social justice charity Nacro has won a £25m government contract to provide support to low and medium-risk offenders.

The Ministry of Justice has awarded the charity a contract to run the Bail Accommodation and Support Service, which aims to prevent the use of prison for low and medium-risk people on bail or other licence agreements.

The charity will take over the contract, which lasts an initial three years with the possibility of a further 12 months, in June from the existing provider the housing association Home Group, which decided not to bid.

Nacro, which has about 800 staff, said it expected to take on about 100 staff from the Home Group under transfer rules, but said it was too early to make any comment on whether there could be any redundancies as a result of the move.

"Nacro is delighted to have been awarded the contract and will work with staff and representatives to consider how best to take the service forward," a Nacro spokeswoman said.

Home Group said it would not comment on individual staffing issues. "We are working closely with the Ministry of Justice and Nacro to ensure the smooth transition of the contract for our service users and colleagues," a statement from the charity said.

Home Group said it had supported more than 19,000 people since it first started running the service in 2010.

Mark Henderson, its chief executive, said the charity made a strategic decision in 2017 not to bid for the contract.

"We began running BASS nationally in 2010 and since then, through the hard work of our colleagues, we’ve shaped it into a highly successful service that has delivered outstanding outcomes for service users and alleviated pressures on the justice system," he said.

"We are delighted that Nacro has been awarded the BASS contract for the next phase of its development and we will work closely for the benefit of service users and our colleagues to transition the service."

Jacob Tas, chief executive of Nacro, said: "We are delighted to have the opportunity to harness our experience of helping people turn their lives around through providing housing and support.

"We know first-hand how crucial having the right type of housing can be to supporting people to move forwards in their lives and reduce reoffending. We very much look forward to welcoming the experienced and committed staff team from the current provider to Nacro."

Rory Stewart, the prisons and probation minister, said: "I’m delighted that we have been able to award this contract to Nacro, which will use its 50 years of expertise in this area to help rehabilitate offenders and protect the public.

"It’s vital that we continue to work in partnership with the voluntary sector and draw on its massive experience and enthusiasm in supporting offenders and vulnerable people."

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