Tender Opportunity

Shropshire Council wishes to procure an Advice, Advocacy and Welfare Benefits preventative service for adults. This service is to replace existing contract and grant funding arrangements. Our aim is to procure a single contract for adults using the funding currently allocated by Adult Services to these services.

The Advice, Advocacy and Welfare Benefits (AAWB) service will deliver advice and advocacy for all adults aged 18+ across a range of issues which impact on people’s wellbeing and will incorporate support for people who need help to be able to navigate the welfare benefits system.

The proposed service acknowledges that whilst advice and advocacy are distinct disciplines they are closely linked and should remain so. Additionally, as advice around welfare benefits accounts for approximately 50% of all advice issues dealt with by the current providers we will incorporate welfare benefits support for adults into this procurement.

The AAWB service will incorporate statutory independent advocacy under the Care Act 2014, non-statutory advocacy, advice on a range of issues and welfare benefits support. Whilst the successful provider of the AAWB service will be required to respond to all Care Act advocacy referrals and referrals identified by the Council as high-priority but non-statutory, it will be responsible for allocating resources to most effectively meet demand in all areas of this contract.

As a guideline, over a 12 month period the current funded services have delivered advice, advocacy and welfare benefits support to over 10,500 people. This can be broken down by: •Care Act advocacy – 40 eligible new referrals; 36 cases completed at an average 6.8 hours each •Non-statutory advocacy = 2,080 people with an average 2.75 issues each •Advice = 7,700 people in total •Over 7,600 individual Welfare Benefits & Tax Credits issues; around 50% of all individual issues are related to Welfare Benefits & Tax Credits

Given the breadth of experience and range of activity required, we would welcome proposals which bring together a number of organisations to deliver this service. This may be a formal or informal partnership, a consortium, a lead provider / sub-contractors arrangement or similar.

Additionally, the Council recognises the importance of the strong brand, identity and recognition that individual organisations have and a solution which retains choice for people within the contracting arrangement is required.  This commissioned service is one part of a network of advice and benefits support which is delivered across the statutory and voluntary sectors and will complement all other activity in this area.  The service will improve people’s sense of wellbeing and help to improve their confidence in dealing with everyday life. The Service will be inclusive and will be available to adults aged 18 and above across the Shropshire Council area.

The budget available is fixed at £602,700 per annum for the duration of the contract which will be for an initial term of 3 years with an option to extend the contact by a further 2 years subject to contract performance and budget availability.

The closing date for tender submissions is Noon on Friday 28th June 2019.  Tenderers will be required to give a presentation to the tender evaluation panel and a small panel of ‘experts by experience’ following the tender closing date. Details of the presentation content and presentation dates will be advised after the tender closing date.
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