Decision details

Procurement of a Dynamic Purchasing System for Independent Alternative Provision for children with SEND - ES16 (20/21)

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The County Council has a statutory obligation to provide suitable education for all learners including those who, because of exclusion, illness or other reasons, would not otherwise receive suitable education; this is termed Alternative Provision.


Currently the requirement for Independent Alternative Provision (IAP) is predominately for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and is commissioned on a case by case basis with Individual Placement Agreements (IPAs) ensuring that the provision meets the needs of the child/young person for each placement.


Whilst the County Council’s ambition is to reduce dependence on the external market, and provides some of these services, the demand is such that a significant amount of provision has to be purchased from the external market and evaluation shows this is a trend expected to continue. In order to meet this demand, it is proposed to set up a Pseudo-Dynamic Purchasing System (P-DPS) to enable the efficient sourcing of Independent Alternative Provision services from qualified providers.


The P-DPS will ensure a consistent yet flexible approach to purchasing the variety of Alternative Provision education services required for children and young people and will help facilitate and manage the market to meet the anticipated demand, both in terms of the volumes and complexity of children and young people requiring support. It will also maximise the potential to encourage competitive pricing; West Sussex schools will also access this P-DPS.


The P-DPS itself has no actual contract value as it makes no guarantee of business for any provider. However, the 2019/20 spend by the County Council was £1.1m per annum. Based on a calculation using known hours that schools have commissioned over a set period the West Sussex schools spend has been estimated as £1.5m per annum.


The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills has approved:

(1)The commencement of a procurement process for a new Pseudo Dynamic Purchasing System (P-DPS) in Spring 2021 which will facilitate the purchasing of Independent Alternative Provision (IAP) to support the educational requirements of individual children. The term of the P-DPS will be 4 years and 9 months years in total, starting on 1 June 2021 and concluding on 31 January 2026;


(2)The delegation of authority to the Director of Education and Skills to implement the P-DPS for the supply of Independent Alternative Provision for the initial period 1 June 2021 to end February 2024 and further extension periods as necessary.

Interests and Nature of Interests Declared:


Publication date: 17/03/2021

Date of decision: 17/03/2021

Effective from: 29/03/2021

Accompanying Documents: