Government explores digital service to support prison leavers

Written by Sam Trendall on 8 October 2018 in News
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Justice agencies seeks supplier for £500,000 project to examine development of ‘Through the Gate’ service to ease transition back into society and reduce reoffending

Credit: Paul Faith/PA

The government is to spend up to £500,000 exploring the development of a digital service that aims to better support prisoners when they re-enter the community.

The Ministry of Justice and HM Prison and Probation Service have teamed up to issue a contract notice seeking a supplier to conduct a discovery phase for a potential new digital service called Through the Gate. The ultimate aim of the service is to better support people on their release from prison, ease their return to the community, and reduce recidivism.

MoJ and HMPPS are looking to work with a supplier to explore the challenges faced by prison-leavers – and the existing support and services available – in the following key areas: money; benefits; housing; family circumstances; mental health; banking; anger-management; and addiction.


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“Prison-leavers often face a range of complex problems, ranging from finance and benefits to family, housing, addiction and mental health, and struggle to access the support services that are available,” the contract notice said. “Work needs to be done to better understand the problems prison-leavers face, to assess the available services and identify gaps, and, if appropriate, develop a digital service that increases the efficiency and quality of the support that is available.”

The project will be run from the HMPPS digital studio in Sheffield, with some work also taking place at MoJ headquarters in central London. The chosen supplier will be expected to work on-site at one of these locations at least three days a week, in addition to conducting research and engagement work around the country.

The Through the Gate project has a budget of up to £500,000. Bids are open until 17 October, after which up to three suppliers will be evaluated. Work on the discovery phase is due to commence on 19 November.

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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