Oasis Restore Secure School (ORSS) is a ground-breaking approach for the provision of health and wellbeing services to children and young people on remand or sentenced by court. Commissioned by NHSE Health and Justice South East, the school is to be operated by Oasis Charitable Trust and offers a unique combination of education, care, and health services, making it the first of its kind in England.
As part of the commissioning process, At Scale led a comprehensive set of market engagement activities involving a diverse group of Community and Voluntary sector (3rd Sector) organisations. The work helped validate and refine ORSS’s secure school model; identify and overcome perceived procurement barriers for the 3rd sector; and encourage the development of procurement partnership models between organisations.
Both commissioners and partnering organisations felt the process they were a part of has set a precedence for future procurements - prioritising social value and fostering effective collaboration with the 3rd Sector in public sector service provision.
To deliver a comprehensive and integrated secure school service, commissioners understand the need and value of involving 3rd sector organisations who are directly involved in engaging and supporting the children, young people, families and their communities. The traditional approach of appointing a lead provider and subcontracting to 3rd Sector and grass roots providers often faces challenges and is felt to discourage this valuable sectors experience, voice and knowledge into participation.
Engaging 3rd sector organisations leads to a unique understanding of their experiences and is recognised as adding significant value to the services offered by ORSS. These organisations bring fresh perspectives and approaches larger providers struggled to provide, representing the voices of users, communities, and families while focusing on the overall needs of the communities they serve. Their expertise and reach allow them to be responsive and develop innovative solutions tailored to the needs of service users.
Moreover, their involvement brings social value, providing an excellent opportunity for 3rd sector organisations to stand out and add commercial value to bids for public sector contracts.
Working with the Third Sector
At Scale was asked to help design and manage the engagement and procurement activities so as to encourage and support 3rd sector organisations' participation. We developed an inclusive contractual process where the service specification and evaluation approach helped demonstrate the value of 3rd sector participation and ensured the partnership model's long-term sustainability.
Market stimulation began with informal approaches, by us, to 3rd sector organisations to gauge interest levels and to understand the factors that would be appealing to them. Our focus was to identify new ways of collaborative working and new partnership approaches that surpassed the traditional partnership models and were more closely align with the desired outcomes of this vanguard project.
We designed and helped manage a formal market engagement event to gauge provider interest in delivering health, emotional, and wellbeing services for students at ORSS. We brought together providers who could deliver both clinical and non-clinical services in partnership with Oasis. The event also facilitated networking opportunities to explore collaborative delivery arrangements, and informed service and procurement process design.
Both the formal and informal market engagement was seen as extremely valuable by both the commissioners and potential partnering organisations. Some of the key benefits were identified as:
An opportunity to voice and discuss the value of 3rd sector services provided and their direct ‘lived experiences’.
A better understanding of the barriers faced by the 3rd sector when engaging and forming procurement partnerships.
The identification of potential procurement partnerships – identifying natural fits and discussing potential partnership models and the practicalities of making them work.
Attendees stated the event provided a positive opportunity to converse and network and rated the overall event programme and content 4.7 out of 5.
By overcoming traditional barriers and establishing an effective partnership model, 3rd sector organisations had the opportunity to contribute their unique expertise in supporting vulnerable children and young people with complex needs, aligning with the commission's long-term objectives.
Both commissioners and partnering organisations felt the process they were a part of has set a precedence for future procurements.
Engage, Collaborate and Transform
Working with our client and their stakeholders to understand, shape and deliver great solutions is at our core. At Scale can help you identify innovative approaches and new opportunities to transform the performance of your organisation.
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