David Amess – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Ministry of Justice

The below Parliamentary question was asked by David Amess on 2014-03-31.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what (a) advice and (b) written guidance (i) he, (ii) Ministers and (iii) officials in his Department have given to Aspire to Change (A2C) since December 2013; and if he will make a statement.

Jeremy Wright

Under Transforming Rehabilitation, we are opening up the market to a diverse range of new rehabilitation providers, so that we get the best out of the public, voluntary and private sectors, at the local as well as national level. Managers in a number of Probation Trusts, including Essex, have set up mutuals so that they can bid to become owners of the new Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs). In line with wider Government policy, we have encouraged those Trusts that have been interested to consider the mutual option. All those developing mutuals have had the opportunity to bid for further advice, guidance and assistance through the Cabinet Office Mutual Support Programme (MSP). The MSP has allocated a total of £1.5million to support prospective mutuals with the greatest potential. Support to organisations has been provided in two phases. Phase 1 supported organisations to prepare them for the competition. Phase 2 is providing further support to those that passed the first stage of the competition throughout the negotiation phase and, if they are successful in the competition, support their transition to a mutual.

We launched the competition to establish the owners of the 21 CRCs on 19 September 2013. Competition rules preclude this Department from contacting potential bidders other than through the competition process so that is, and will remain the only avenue for Aspire 2 Change Ltd. to communicate with the Department until the competition is completed.