Contract win in the West Midlands

Project Type: Commissioning
Region: Midlands & East of England
Partner: Nationwide Foundation
When The Haven was preparing to bid for its largest contract, providing support to women and families suffering from domestic violence, it engaged the support of the Cranfield Trust.

It is estimated that one in four women in the UK will experience domestic violence during the course of their lifetime.  As many as a million children in the UK are thought to be affected by it. Domestic violence cuts across all population groups and is often more prevalent in tough economic times.

Picture of mother and childThe Haven Wolverhampton is one of the largest independent charities and refuge providers in the country.  It offers a dedicated and tailored package of support for every woman and child who comes to it.  Overall, The Haven supports 53 families with accommodation and up to 100 families in the community a year, at times of real crisis in their lives.

For some this can truly be a lifeline, as one woman says: “I truly believe that The Haven saved my life.”

Like many charities, The Haven provides services under contract to the local authority, as part of its work.  In the past few years it has managed services under two contracts for refuge and community provision to address domestic violence in the West Midlands. 

With a tender deadline on the horizon, The Haven contacted the Cranfield Trust to assist it with the tendering process. It needed to represent itself and its services well and strike the right balance between cost and quality. This can be difficult when the cost of investigating a domestic homicide, for example, is in the region of £1 million. 

Popinder Kaur, Head of Business Support and Development at The Haven, worked with Trust volunteer Prem Raj, whose background in supply chain and operations management meant that he could readily advise on cost effective delivery.

Popinder explained:  “Prem worked on the contract conditions, highlighting concerns where we could seek clarification with the council, such as the scoring criteria which he realised could penalise charities in comparison with companies. He worked with us to prepare questions that showed our credibility and had several meetings with us to discuss our costings.  Having Prem involved meant than we got to a level of detail that we wouldn't have been able to reach without his support. Because he didn't know us and what makes us special, he could critique our ideas and his questions made us reword how we describe what we do. He was very flexible, making himself available whenever he could and was there for us throughout the whole process.”

With Prem’s help The Haven was successful and learned that it had won its biggest ever contract – valued at £900,000 a year for the next three years, with an option to extend to five years.  This is a major commitment to address issues of domestic violence in the West Midlands.

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