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We produce briefings for our members to ensure they stay up to date with the latest relevant policy and legislative developments in the criminal justice system. These allow you to digest significant developments quickly, and indicate potential implications for the voluntary sector so that you can plan your organisation's response.

Members can respond through Clinks. We often run round tables or consultations on issues of particular interest to capture the views of the sector. Let us know if there is an issue on which you would like us to comment on, or investigate further.

Read our briefings here:

RR3 Briefing: meeting the accommodation needs of people in contact with the CJS (June 2018)

In September 2017 the Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group set up a special interest group of 13 experts from the voluntary sector to explore the barriers people in contact with the criminal justice system experience when trying to access appropriate accommodation. Following three meetings and a consultation event with people who have lived experience of the CJS the group have published a paper that calls for the Ministry of Justice to develop and lead a cross-departmental accommodation strategy.

Briefing on the Lammy Review into the treatment of, and outcomes for, black, Asian and minority ethnic people in the criminal justice system (November 2017)

This briefing provides a summary of the Lammy Review’s main findings and recommendations at each stage of the individual’s journey through the criminal justice system, from the point of arrest onwards. It provides commentary and analysis on the potential outcomes of those recommendations as well as providing further suggestions that should be considered by the Ministry of Justice, Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service and criminal justice agencies. It also highlights areas in which the voluntary sector can play a key role in supporting the implementation of the recommendations.

Briefing on the 2017 Drug Strategy (September 2017)

The Government published the Drug Strategy in July, which Clinks welcomes. We have summarised the main aspects of the strategy in this briefing and indicate what impact it is likely to have on Clinks members. We are supportive of its overall aims of the strategy that focus on both reducing drug use and supporting people in their recovery. However, although the Government recognises that fully funded services are essential for ensuring the aims of the strategy are realised, it is unfortunate that the strategy does not recognise or seek to address the challenging funding environment drug and alcohol misuse services are operating within.

Briefing on the final report of the Farmer Review (September 2017)

This briefing outlines the key findings and recommendations of the Farmer Review into the importance of strengthening prisoners’ family ties to prevent reoffending and reduce intergenerational crime. The review was commissioned by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in 2016 and carried out in partnership with Clinks. Its final report was published in August 2017 and was welcomed by the Secretary of State for Justice, who said, “Families can play a significant role in supporting an offender and I am grateful to Lord Farmer for his dedication and research on this important issue”. The review team is currently working with the MoJ to support them in putting together an action plan based on the recommendations outlined in this briefing.

Race, mental health and criminal justice: Moving forward (August 2017)

This joint briefing from Nacro, Clinks, Association for Mental Health Providers, and the Race Equality Foundation explores the challenges in providing effective mental health support for people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities that have contact with the criminal justice system, and how to address the disproportional access to, and outcomes from, services.
Based on analysis of existing research, and workshops with people with lived experience from BAME communities and voluntary sector practitioners, it gives recommendations for moving forward through providing appropriate services; using data; involving people with lived experience; workforce and training; and integrated working.

Briefing on the Ministry of Justice’s review of the care and management of transgender offenders (April 2017)

This briefing outlines the core principles of the Ministry of Justice’s review into the care and management of transgender people in contact with the criminal justice system, and the new Prison Service Instruction (PS1 17/2016) which it informed. The conclusions from the review and the corresponding PSI represent significant progress in recognising and addressing the needs of transgender people in contact with the CJS. Clinks is pleased to see that there is now a clear acknowledgement of the need to respect each individual within the gender identity they wish to express and increased clarity and transparency around decision-making processes, allowing transgender people to have more input into the decisions made about them and to receive clear information about the reasons behind these decisions.

Are the accommodation needs being met for people in contact with the Criminal Justice System? (February 2017)

Clinks and Homeless Link commissioned a short scoping exercise to understand how the accommodation needs of people in contact with the criminal justice system are being met since the implementation of Transforming Rehabilitation (TR). The results show that some of the challenges in securing safe and appropriate accommodation are directly related to the implementation of TR, such as a lack of accommodation advice given by some community rehabilitation companies, yet many of them exist due to external factors including pressures on housing supply, leading to fewer housing options and reductions in local authority budgets.

Charities Act 2016 : disqualification of senior managers and trustees with convictions (November 2016)

In April 2017 we expect the new disqualification powers under the 2016 Charities Act to start. These powers allow the Charity Commission to disqualify people (i.e. prevent them) from holding senior management positions, or from being a trustee of a charity, if they have certain criminal convictions. There will be a waiver application process. Clinks, Unlock and the Prison Reform Trust did ask for changes to the legislation, and we continue to advise the Charity Commission on how these new powers might impact the sector, their current and future employees and trustees. Voluntary organisations need to understand the impact of this legislation, that's why we will be producing guidance with Unlock in early 2017. This briefing summarises what the disqualification is, some of the issues we have with it, and what we are doing to support the sector.   

Unlocking potential: a review of education in prison (July 2016)

In September 2015, the then Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove, asked Dame Sally Coates to conduct a review into prison education and to make recommendations for how it could be improved. The review report, published on 18th May 2016 makes 31 recommendations, 17 of which are listed as key. The government has accepted them all. This briefing summarises the main themes from the review and its recommendations, and includes a timeline for implementation.

Proposals to limit housing benefit rates to Local Housing Allowance: Impact on Supported Housing (April 2016)

In the 2015 Autumn Statement, the government proposed to “cap the amount of rent that Housing Benefit will cover in the social sector to the relevant Local Housing Allowance”. This briefing has been written by Homeless Link in collaboration with seven other voluntary sector organisations including Clinks. It gives information about the likely impact that this cap will have on supported housing and asks that the government remove it. It has been sent to key decision makers, including MPs.

The government's response to the Harris Review (February 2016)

The Harris Review into self-inflicted deaths in custody of 18-24 year olds made its recommendations in July 2015.  In December 2015 the government published its response to the review’s report and recommendations. This briefing provides detail on the government’s response and the future plans it sets out in relation to key areas which are policy priorities for Clinks and which our members and the wider sector work on.

Inside out: the role of the voluntary and private sector in providing opportunities for rehabilitation for people on temporary release (January 2016)

This joint briefing by Clinks and the Prison Reform Trust is based on a survey of voluntary and private sector providers of Release On Temporary License (ROTL) placements in the community. It reveals that recent changes to the ROTL policy have had a significantly negative impact on the ability of voluntary and private organisations to provide volunteering and work experience opportunities for people on temporary release. We believe that this represents an obstacle to effective rehabilitation by reducing employment and resettlement opportunities for people being released from prison. The briefing makes a series of recommendations intended to inform the government’s review of ROTL and wider plans for prison reform.

National policy activity to improve outcomes for women in contact with the Criminal Justice System (November 2015)

Increasingly there is a recognition of the distinct needs experienced by women in contact with the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and that they often require the support of gender specific services to achieve positive outcomes, both for themselves as well as the communities they live in. A range of work is being undertaken across government and the voluntary sector to ensure that this recognition translates into action. In order to inform the sector and support appropriate links to be made between organisations and activities this briefing provides a summary of this work. It focuses on initiatives being taken forward by government and the voluntary sector, and summarises what opportunities there are for you to get involved in them.

Justice, policing and the voluntary sector in Wales (June 2015)

This briefing, produced in partnership with the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) and Clinks, provides an overview of the legal responsibilities, structures and potential changes to the Criminal Justice System in a Welsh context. The paper considers the implications for voluntary sector organisations, and how they can operate in this environment to deliver the best possible services for their service users, whilst understanding the policy context and responding to the considerable developments in the Criminal Justice System.

Health commissioning - an engagement approach (April 2015)

This briefing, written by ACEVO in partnership with Clinks, covers potential opportunities for voluntary sector organisations to be more closely involved in the delivery of healthcare services to people in contact with the Criminal Justice System (CJS); how healthcare is commissioned for prisoners following the 2012 Health and Social Care Act; and guidance on how to make partnerships with commissioners work.

The Offender Rehabilitation Act (April 2015)

This briefing explains the Offender Rehabilitation Act (ORA) which came into full force on 1st February 2015. The ORA accompanies the Transforming Rehabilitation programme, and it makes changes to the sentencing and releasing framework to extend probation supervision after release to offenders serving short term sentences. It also creates greater flexibility in the delivery of sentences served in the community. The ORA is the heart of the reforms which extend supervision to approximately 45,000 additional offenders per year who are released from short prison sentences of less than 12 months. 

The Care Act (2014) and the voluntary sector working in criminal justice (March 2015)

This briefing, written in partnership with ACEVO, explains the Care Act (2014) and its relevance to voluntary sector organisations working with people in prison custody who are resettled back into local communities. It lays out the background to the act, the changes that impact on people in the Criminal Justice System (CJS), and the changes that are relevant to operational staff, and strategic leads, in voluntary sector organisations.

The 'Final ISPA': summary of changes (August 2014)

This briefing summarises the key changes between the “Draft ISPA” and the “Final ISPA”. The aim of this briefing is to support and inform voluntary sector organisations about the Industry Standard Partnering Agreement (ISPA), which is a template subcontract produced by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to be used in subcontracts under their commissioned programmes. This version of the ISPA, which is specific to the Transforming Rehabilitation competition, was released on June 6th (titled “Final ISPA”), following an initial draft released in January 2014 and a consultation that lasted until February 20th.

The relationship between debt and financial issues and women's offending (April 2014)

This briefing examines the relationship between debt and financial issues and women’s offending. It focuses on case study examples submitted to Clinks by our members, and follows our response to the Sentencing Council’s Fraud, Bribery and Money Laundering Offences Guideline consultation, and our recent briefing on the Government’s response to the Justice Select Committee’s report on Women Offenders and the Women’s Custodial Estate Review. Clinks director Clive Martin also sits on the Advisory Board for Female Offenders.

Clinks Thinks: a policy primer (February 2014)

Clinks regularly meets with ministers and civil servants and consults on behalf of the voluntary sector to ensure members are informed and engaged in the future of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and their knowledge and expertise is represented at the highest level. There have been positive policy steps over the last few years, but challenges still remain. Here's what Clinks thinks on the main issues currently facing the voluntary sector.

The Invitation to Negotiate stage of the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms (February 2014)
On 31st January 2014 the MoJ moved to the Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) stage of the Transforming Rehabilitation probation competition with the 30 Tier 1 providers who have passed the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire stage. As part of this, they have released a new Target Operating Model (updating the last one), more details of the contracts that Tier 1s will sign, and an overview of the Payment Mechanism. This briefing summarises the key new information contained in the Target Operating Model and Payment Mechanism Overview. It is an update to previous information Clinks has published.

NOMS Commissioning Intentions from 2014 (November 2013)
NOMS have published its commissioning intentions from 2014, along with a companion document; NOMS Evidence and Segmentation. The intentions cover services that NOMS commissions in line with government policy and provides the basis of negotiations with providers of offender services. NOMS have introduced 6 overarching intentions for commissioning and state a commitment to maintaining community based service delivery as agreed for 2013-14. This briefing summarises the key information within both of these documents. 

The Government’s response to the Justice Select Committee and Women’s Custodial Estate Review (November 2013)
In July 2013, the Justice Select Committee published the findings from its year-long inquiry that reviewed progress made since the Corston Report. The Ministry of Justice has now published the Government response to this report, setting out its intended approach to managing women offenders. Alongside this, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has published the Women’s Custodial Estate Review. This briefing will summarise the headline recommendations made within both of these documents. 

Transforming Rehabilitation - competition stage (September 2013)
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) announced the beginning of the competition stage of the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda on 19thSeptember 2013. This briefing gives an overview of the contracting process, outlines how the reforms will affect the delivery of services in prisons and the community and what information we are still waiting for. It is highlighted throughout the briefing what action, if any, Members should take.

Justice Select Committee report on women offenders (July 2013)
In 2012, the Justice Select Committee began an inquiry to review the progress made since the Corston Report by examining current policy and practice relating to women offenders and those at risk of offending. The Justice Select Committee has now published its findings in Women Offenders: after the Corston Report. This briefing gives a summary of the Committee’s headline recommendations.

MoJ Transforming Rehabilitation market engagement events - May 13.pdf (May 2013)
Clinks Policy Team has produced a short briefing outlining some more detailed information on the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation proposals, following the MoJ stakeholder events last week in London, York and Rugby.  This includes new information on timescales, market stewardship and the commercial model.

MoJ Transforming Rehabilitation - May 13.pdf (May 2013)
This briefing provides a summary of the headline issues and new proposals in the Ministry of Justice's response response to the consultation document Transforming Rehabilitation: A revolution in the way we manage offenders, published in January 2013.

Strategic objectives for Female Offenders (March 2013)
The Ministry of Justice has published its strategic objectives for women and girls in the Criminal Justice System (CJS). This briefing details the four strategic priorities, that include enhanced provision in the community for female offenders and a review of the female custodial estate.

Social Value Act (2012) (February 2013)
The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 came into force in February 2013, and requires commissioners to consider the economic, environmental and social benefits of their approaches to procurement before the process starts. Commissioners will also have to consider whether they should consult on these issues. Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, said: "As taxpayers, we should all want those buying services on our behalf to get as much value as possible. This Act is an important step in encouraging public sector commissioners to think harder about maximising value to communities. It also supports our commitment to make it easier for charities and Social Enterprises to help deliver better public services." 

Transforming Rehabilitation consultation (January 2013)
Ministry of Justice has released a new consultation document on the future of the Probation Service and offender supervision in England and Wales. This briefing summarises the key proposals in the new consultation document, including national commissioning of offender supervision across 16 contract package areas, contracting out the supervision of low to medium risk offenders to private and VCS providers, the extension of payment by results in this area of the criminal justice system, and the restructuring of existing Probation Trusts.

NOMS Commissioning Intentions Negotiations Document (November 2012)
NOMS has released its Commissioning Intentions Negotiation Document for the 2013-2014 commissioning cycle. This follows the Discussion Document which was released in July, and will form the basis of contract and Service Level Agreement negotiations with prisons and probation trusts. This Clinks briefing summarises new or amended sections of the document, particularly the two new overarching commissioning intentions, further guidance on the use of qualitative evidence, amendments to table of nine reoffending factors, and detailed guidance on the segmentation methodology to be used by commissioners. 

Changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and changes to disclosure and barring processes in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (August 2012)
This briefing outlines the forthcoming changes to both the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the disclosure and barring process for people working with vulnerable groups, including children. These developments will be of interest to Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations that work with vulnerable groups, as well as to individuals with a criminal record, whose ability to engage in certain activities may be affected. 

New health commissioning landscape (August 2012)
This briefing aims to provide Clinks Members with an overview of the new health reforms arising from the Health and Social Care Act 2012, and their impact on the commissioning of health services for people in contact with the Criminal Justice System (CJS) in England.  

NOMS Commissioning Intentions 2013-14 (July 2012)
Clinks have published a briefing on NOMS' new version of the Commissioning Intentions Discussion Document, which has been updated for the 2013-2014 commissioning cycle. In our briefing we highlight several important differences from the previous NOMS document; notably the intention to revise the segmentation methodology used to categorise the offender population, clear guidance on what constitutes good evidence of an intervention's effectiveness, and a greater recognition of the significance of intermediate outcomes. 

Punishment and reform: Effective Probation Services (April 2012)
This briefing summarises the main points of the government's consultation documents on the proposed reforms to Probation Services in England and Wales. This is a separate consultation to the consultation on Community Sentencing which was released simultaneously (see below). Both are subject to a three-month consultation period, with a deadline for responses of 22 June, 2012. Clinks would encourage VCS organisations to share their thoughts and responses to this document, either by a written submission to the address on the briefing, or by participating in our survey and roundtable events on the review of Probation Services (details to follow shortly). This will inform our own response to the consultation.

Clinks briefing on NOMS Commissioning Intentions 2012-2013 (February 2012)
This briefing provides a summary of the 'NOMS Commissioning Intentions Discussion Document' for 2012-13. The document outlines NOMS intentions for services in the community and in custody, and for services which are co-commissioned with other government departments. It displays a strong commitment to evidence-based commissioning (drawing upon both desistance literature and empirical 'what works' evidence for guidance) and to focusing resources on segments of the offender population which present a medium to high risk of reoffending. Of particular interest to VCS providers are the stated intentions to provide more holistic, rehabilitative services, expand the use of Restorative Justice conferencing, and provide appropriate services for women.

SFC Policy Briefing 2 | Implications of the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners for the Violence Against Women and Girls sector (February 2012)
This policy briefing builds on the policy briefing 1 and discusses the issues in relation to the Violence Against Women and Girls sector specifically.

SFC Policy Briefing 1 | Introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners (December 2011)
The police authorities that currently hold the police to account will be abolished from November 2012 and replaced by elected PCCs in 41 police force areas across Greater London, England and Wales. This policy briefing is intended to provide a brief overview of the introduction of PCCs and some of the key implications of this changing landscape for Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations in England and Wales with an interest in community safety.

Youth Justice (September 2011)
The youth justice system in England and Wales is a complex set of arrangements involving local authority children’s services, probation trusts, NHS services, Ministry of Justice, a range of commissioned voluntary sector organisations, as well as the police, Crown Prosecution Service, youth courts, prisons, and private sector service providers. Although there has been a recent substantial reduction in the number of young people (under 18 years) in secure settings, the current daily figure of approximately 2,000 is still among the highest in Europe per head of population. Our latest briefing provides an introduction to the youth justice system, recent developments, sentencing and processes, policy, and looks at future issues.

Secure Estate for Young People (July 2011)
This briefing summarises the joint consultation from the Youth Justice Board (YJB) and Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on youth custody. The consultation is open until 11th October 2011 and as part of the consultation process, the YJB has also commissioned independent organisations to gather the views of young people. Clinks invites our members who have an interest in youth justice – and particularly in youth custody – to submit views on the expressed strategy. If you wish to have your views included in the Clinks’ submission, please get in touch by 16thSeptember 2011.

The Government’s response to Breaking the Cycle and the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill (June 2011)
This briefing provides a summary of the Government's response,a fairly short document that includes little detail about how Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations are to be financed and supported. Furthermore, the response marks a retreat from some of the more radical suggestions outlined in the Green Paper earlier this year. Disappointingly, a statement in the foreword explicitly states ‘we are not aiming to cut the prison population’. This has been perceived in many quarters as a u-turn on criminal justice policy and gives rise to concerns over where the missing £130 million will now be saved.

Giving Green Paper (April 2011)
Clinks have produced a short summary of the key points contained within the Government’s Green Paper. The Giving Green Paper is concerned with encouraging social action and contains details of initiatives that will support this. The paper states a particular interest in how smaller charities and community groups can make their presence felt. “We want to hear from charities about how they can do more to improve their social impact reporting, particularly from smaller organisations that have less resource, and whether there is a role for government in facilitating their work on this.”

Supporting People (February 2011)
Across the country, councils are facing the most challenging financial settlements from central government for years. The Making Every Adult Matter coalition have published a briefing for local authorities that campaigns for the continuation of Supporting People services. The briefing presents the key facts about Supporting People and four sets of questions local authorities should ask as they make difficult decisions about services. We hope this will be a useful checklist as decisions are made and that councils will protect important, cost-effective Supporting People services in for the benefit of current and future populations

Breaking the Cycle Green Paper (January 2011)
This briefing is intended to assist Clinks members and other Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations working in the Criminal Justice System to address the key themes and issues contained in the Government’s Green Paper, ‘Breaking the Cycle - Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing’. The Green Paper is wide-ranging and includes proposals in relation to sentencing, delivery of services, and commissioning of interventions. Taken as a whole, this is a progressive set of proposals and policy positions detailed within.

Big Judges (October 2010)
This briefing introduces problem solving courts, and highlights opportunities for voluntary sector involvement.

Commissioning of Prisons (July 2010)
This briefing is intended to provide a review and update on recent announcements and developments in the prison-building and commissioning programme.

Briefing Note on Ken Clarke’s speech (June 2010)
This briefing note summarises Ken Clarke’s speech at the Centre for Crime and Justice studies and considers the impact on the Voluntary and Community Sector working in the Criminal Justice System.

Integrated Offender Management (December 2009) 
This Member’s briefing introduces the Integrated Offender Management (IOM) scheme and looks at the agencies involved, methods of delivery and criteria for offenders being placed on the different schemes including MAPPA, PPO and DIPs. The briefing also signposts to a piece of NOMS-commissioned research into the involvement of the VCS in IOM.

Reducing Re-offending: Calculating reconviction rates (March 2009) 
The Government recently claimed that re-offending rates have improved and Clinks joins them in celebrating this achievement. However, the way in which the figures are calculated has been changed, and this paper offers some explanation about what these changes have been.

Directors of Offender Management appointed (June 2009) 
This updated members briefing announces the appointment of NOMS' Directors of Offender Management. The briefing provides a brief introduction of DOMs and their role, looks at how this will impact on Clinks members, and how Clinks will support members to engage with this new structure. Update: this briefing now features contact details for all DOMs including the appointment of an interim North East DOM. To ensure you are first to hear about these announcements, become a member of Clinks.

Best Value Framework (December 2008) 
This Clinks Members Briefing gives an overview of the NOMS 2008 consultation on a Best Value Review of the National Probation Service. The document predicts the likely effect on Clinks members, and what the next steps are for implementing the review.

Titan Prison Consultation (August 2008) 
Clinks and Action for Prisoners Families (APF) echo the views of other voluntary sector organisations who have commented on the futility of the government's decision to respond to the overcrowding crisis in the prison system by investing huge sums of money in expanding the prison estate, rather than investing in effective community-based alternatives to custody for offenders and their families. Nevertheless, the voluntary sector will be required to deliver services to prisoners in these new prisons, including Titans, and we want to ensure that the sector's views about the most effective provision are communicated to government. Therefore, we have prepared a briefing identifying the key features of Titans.

Infrastructure Fund (April 2008) 
This members' briefing provides information on Clinks' successful application to the NOMS Infrastructure round of funding in February 2008. It explains to members how we will use the funds to improve our service to our membership and highlights the other successful organisations.

Best Value Consultation (April 2008) 
This members' briefing provides information on the Probation Service's Best Value review process and how it may affect the VCS. The Best Value review public consultation period opened on the 9th April 08, and Clinks' members are encouraged to respond to it.

Futurebuilders England Funding of Offender-related VCS(February 2006) 
Futurebuilders England (FBE) is the funding stream established by the government to increase the capacity of the Voluntary and Community Sector to equip organisations to deliver public sector services. There is concern that FBE are not attracting enough applications from the offender-related VCS. This paper looks at a survey of Clinks members and presents a number of issues impacting on the experience of offender-related organisations in engaging with FBE.

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