Issue details

Procurement of a Dynamic Purchasing System for Independent Alternative Provision for children with SEND

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.

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure > £500,000;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Divisions affected: (All Divisions);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 16/10/2020

Decision due: March 2021 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Lead member: Councillor Nigel Jupp

Contact: Helen Johns, Head of Inclusion Email: Tel: 07715 616560.

Consultation process

Representations concerning this proposed decision can be made to the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, via the officer contact, by the beginning of the month in which the decision is due to be taken


Consultation with the market – current and potential providers




Democratic Services Contact: Wendy Saunders Tel: 033 022 22553

Background3: Best Start in LIfe


Background papers

  • None