Sport in prisons – why NOW is the time for action
The Alliance of Sport is urging sports organisations who want to deliver programmes in prisons to act now by registering with the Ministry of Justice’s Bravo Solutions Portal.
We believe that sport is one of the most effective ways to engage and rehabilitate offenders, and forthcoming changes to the way prison education is organised mean there has never been a better time for sport to play a role in reducing offending.
This opportunity has arisen because the current Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) contracts are coming to an end in March 2019. In their place is a new system which gives prison Governors far more autonomy over education provision in their own establishments.
From April next year, Governors will commission education (including sport-based programmes) in line with their own curriculum plan, via two different routes:
- The Prison Education Framework (PEF)
- The Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS).
Through the DPS, governors will be able to directly commission external organisations to deliver inside their prison without subcontracting through their PEF provider.
This new system has the potential to ensure more local organisations, who work both in custody and the community, get to deliver sport-based programmes in prisons. The Alliance of Sport endorse this approach as ‘best practice’, as it enables offenders to continue their learning and sport participation after release – which research shows is highly beneficial to long-term desistance from crime.
The Alliance of Sport is advising interested member organisations to pre-register on the DPS. Once it’s live, you will be notified of relevant ‘call ups’ from prison governors and will be able to bid to fulfil their requirements.
Signing up to the DPS now will ensure you have all the relevant information including relevant deadlines. Once the DPS is live you will be asked for more information about what your organisation delivers and to supply three references.
For more background on the changes to prison education commissioning, go to a special page on the Prisoners’ Education Trust website.
Read our guest blog by Nina Champion, Alliance of Sport Steering Group member, on why the system changes represent a ‘golden opportunity’ for the Sport for Development sector.