Third tier in the supply chain? Voluntary Agencies and the Commissioning of Offender Rehabilitation Services

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter I consider the implications of the growing marketisation of criminal justice services for voluntary sector organisations, looking in particular at the expansion of competitive commissioning as a means of delivering offender management and rehabilitation. Until recently, the pace of change in this direction has been slower in the penal field than in many other areas of public services, and most voluntary agencies that work with offenders appear so far to have adapted fairly comfortably to new developments. However, it will be argued that the advent of the ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ (TR) initiative (MoJ, 2013), whereby the majority of work previously undertaken by the probation service was outsourced on a ‘payment by results’ (PbR) basis to 21 ‘community rehabilitation companies’ (CRCs) in February 2015, represents a likely tipping point or step change. While opening up new opportunities for some individual agencies, this will create major risks and challenges for a substantial segment of the voluntary sector. Most CRCs are headed by a large private company (or a partnership which includes a large private company) which manages a ‘supply chain’ comprising a combination of other private companies, voluntary agencies, social enterprises, cooperatives and/or mutual funds. In such a structure, whose aims and outcome targets are set by public sector commissioners, and whose modes of operation are controlled (in most cases) by private sector organisations, subcontracted voluntary agencies may find it difficult to maintain their traditional values, working practices and independence. Moreover, those left outside the supply chain may find it harder to obtain funding and access.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Voluntary Sector and Criminal Justice
EditorsAnthea Hucklesby , Mary Corcoran
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-37067-9
ISBN (Print)978-1-349-57862-7
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • criminal justice system
  • voluntary sector organisations
  • offender management
  • rehabilitation services
  • Community Rehabilitation Companies
  • CRCs
  • payment by results
  • PbR


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