Clinks is the infrastructure organisation supporting voluntary organisations in the criminal justice system in England and Wales. Our aim is to ensure that organisations and the people they support are informed and engaged in order to transform lives and communities.
We support, promote and represent the voluntary sector working with people in the criminal justice system and their families - currently that’s over 1,700 voluntary organisations working in England and Wales. Our 500+ members, which range from large organisations through to unstaffed community groups, work in prisons and the community in a variety of ways to help people turn their lives around and also offer support to their families. Find out more about Clinks membership here.
Clinks has an unrivalled reach through our extensive network of over 13,000 voluntary sector contacts and stakeholders - through our weekly Light Lunch e-bulletin and our social media activity. Our database includes over 2,000 voluntary sector organisations and 700 practitioners and organisations working in the arts. We have established and trusted relationships within the voluntary sector and regular contact and influence with senior decision and policy makers in successive governments.
In order to realise our vision, Clinks supports, promotes and represents the voluntary sector to ensure it can provide the services people need.
Support: We keep the sector up-to-date through our comprehensive programme of communications, our briefings and events. We support the voluntary sector to address entrenched issues and key challenges, to share solutions and realise opportunities.
Promote: We champion voluntary organisations, highlighting the important role they play in criminal justice system, ensuring this is recognised by policy and decision makers. We provide examples of, and promote, good practice and innovation through communications, events and networks.
Represent: We give voice to the voluntary sector. We influence stakeholders through participating in policy and decision making bodies, building relationships and developing networks with key decision makers. We share voluntary sector intelligence - gathered through our networks and our research - with the government.
Our priorities are guided by our members, who are often dealing with entrenched and systemic issues. We highlight these issues on behalf of our membership and the people they support, and work in partnership with them to seek solutions. We bring organisations together, listen to them and develop support to help them do what they need.
We keep members up-to-date with the fast changing criminal justice landscape, ensuring they can respond to new developments and opportunities. Our work is national, drawing on evidence gathered at regional and local levels. Our work includes campaigning, influencing policy and practice. We promote opportunities for the voluntary sector to develop or expand their work. Read more about our work in response to key issues, about our members, our projects, and the work we publish.
Clinks advocates for change on policy issues raised by our members. We believe there are key actions that can be taken, across sectors, to ensure that people in the criminal justice system get the support they need to change their lives for the better. Find out more in Influencing criminal justice policy.
Where we work
Clinks supports organisations working in England and Wales. Our area development team provides focused support in Wales, the North East, North West, South West and West Yorkshire. This allows us to respond to local variations, in both need and structure, while also sharing information from across England and Wales. In addition, local voluntary organisations and partners provide valuable intelligence about the reality of experiences at a local level, which Clinks can use to advocate for the needs of the voluntary sector.
Our vision is of a vibrant, independent and resilient voluntary sector that enables people to transform their lives.
To support, represent and advocate for the voluntary sector in the criminal justice system, enabling it to provide the best possible opportunities for individuals and their families.
- Promote the work of the voluntary sector in the criminal justice system, with a particular focus on smaller specialist organisations.
- Support voluntary organisations working in the criminal justice system with individuals and their families.
- Represent and advocate for the voluntary sector and its service users.
- Identify challenges and opportunities facing the voluntary sector and its service users, and work together to find and implement solutions.
- Clinks being effective, efficient and professional in its work and operations. Ensuring we have the systems, resources and processes to achieve maximum impact.
Our members – voluntary organisations play a crucial role at the heart of our criminal justice system
Using evidence – in order to improve the system we must amplify the voices of voluntary organisations working in criminal justice.
Involving service users – we are committed to supporting the effective involvement of people with lived experience of the criminal justice system to inform policy and practice.
People’s capacity to change – we believe that every individual should have the right support so they can transform their lives.
Equality – we proactively identify and tackle disadvantage, discrimination and inequality in our criminal justice system.
Inclusivity – we strive to be approachable, accessible, inclusive and collaborative.
We are ambitious about the future and potential of the sector we serve. We want to build and support a movement of organisations who play an essential role in helping people to desist from crime and turn their lives around. The voluntary sector’s role could not be more important as it is presently. Clinks needs to be here to help enable the sector to be at its best so that everyone who needs their help can get it. Our 2019-2022 strategy outlines our strategic objectives, our goals for 2022, how we'll work, and the changes we want to see in the criminal justice system.
Clinks’ latest impact assessment (2019) presents the views of a range of Clinks members and key stakeholders, including small and medium voluntary sector organisations, statutory stakeholders from local and national organisations, funders and those who have worked in partnership with us. Respondents fed back on what we do well, where we could do better and offered recommendations for our work. We gained valuable insight into how Clinks is perceived, as well as constructive criticism, which will help shape our future work.
The overwhelming response from those consulted was positive. Where we can, Clinks is keen to make changes to respond best to what the sector needs.
Clinks is 20 years old. We began in 1998, working with voluntary organisations in five London prisons. Since then we have grown to cover England and Wales, corresponding to the Ministry of Justice’s area of jurisdiction, with a staff team to reflect an increasingly complex remit.
Our coalitions and partnerships
To help us meet our strategic objectives, we often work in partnership with other organisations, bringing together our specific expertise, networks and influence to address shared issues and concerns.
We are a founding partner of Making Every Adult Matter, a coalition of Clinks, Homeless Link and Mind, which highlights the systemic neglect of individuals with multiple and complex needs.
We work alongside specialist organisations, including the Black Training & Enterprise Group (BTEG) and Maslaha, to highlight and address the over representation of, and poorer outcomes experienced by, black, Asian and minority ethnic people in the criminal justice system.
We are part of the Transitions to Adulthood Alliance, highlighting and seeking to address the specific needs of young adults in the criminal justice system.
Thank you to our funders for their generous support.
- Ministry of Justice
- The Monument Trust
- Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
- Arts Council England
- Department of Health
- West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner
- Paul Hamlyn Foundation
- Big Lottery Fund
- Barrow Cadbury Trust
- The Goldsmiths' Company Charity
- Garfield Weston Foundation
- The Bromley Trust.