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Alternative Provision Framework of Services for Children & Young People – Stakeholder Report

Dear Colleagues,


A project group was set up because it was established that the majority of alternative provision (other than learning centres) is currently sourced by individual workers which has led to inconsistencies in approach, variability of quality assurance and a lack of value for money.


In June 2016 a provider event was run and information was gathered from current and interested providers of services. We also gathered commissioning data and intelligence from various departments within Dorset County Council.


In May 2017, a request was sent to all schools in Dorset, in order to gather details around the purchasing/commissioning of additional educational services. Questionnaires were sent out to SENCOs/inclusion leaders and directly to Head Teachers.



  • There were various services commissioned by the schools including therapeutic support, alternative provision away from the school site, additional TA time or cover time from an agency, additional teacher time or cover time from an agency, additional Ed Psych or SEN support time.
  • 70 % indicated that the school might be interested in being part of a bulk purchase and 10% responded that they possibly/would want to know more/only if the cost is significantly reduced/totally dependent on cost.


In response to the information gathered, we set up the Alternative Provision Framework Group and are in the process of developing a framework to provide a list of quality assured providers who can deliver a variety of diverse services.


The framework list will include a variety of alternative provision programmes/activities/services supporting children and young people which can be accessed by Dorset County Council, maintained schools, academies and specialist schools in Dorset.


This framework is being put in place for the following reasons:

  • to safeguard children and young people through clear quality assurance processes
  • to produce a list that includes a variety of services, in order to get the right service, at the right time, to gain the best outcomes for children and young people
  • to gain best value for money and potential savings


To get this framework in place, the project group have developed a competitive process for organisations who provide a range of alternative provision services for children and young people. This is likely to include:
• having a list of providers on a directory which buyers can call-off (purchase) at prices set for a period of time (possibly 4 years)
• having the facility for buyers (whether this be DCC departments or schools directly) to gain best value by carrying out block purchasing either individually or in conjunction.


The 4 categories of services that are outlined within the specification are:

  1. Engagement & Reengagement
  2. Therapeutic & Counselling
  3. Educational Provision & Employability
  4. Teaching


A discussion about this project was held on 28th March 2018 which all schools, academies and further education colleges were invited to attend. There was positive feedback from those who attended the discussion and information, from this event, was distributed to all schools, academies and further education colleges.


Additionally, an information event for potential  providers has taken place recently on 4th May 2018 which was attended by approximately 50 organisations.


A Directory of Alternative Provision Services is due to be available from 1st September 2018.


Many thanks

Greg Jackson
SEND Commissioner
Sufficiency, Commissioning and School Organisation
Children's Services

14 May 2018

Greg Jackson
Schoolsnet on Nexus
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