Clinks’ work in the North East is delivered in partnership with Voluntary Organisations Network North East (VONNE). The Local Development Officer for the North East, Natalie Maidment, is currently on secondment to Clinks to support the voluntary sector’s work to reduce crime, promote community safety, and reduce re-offending.
We recently undertook a survey to measure the impact of our North East based support for the voluntary sector working in criminal justice. We were pleased to see the results, which showed us just how much the work is valued by local organisations.
Over the past 18 months we have:
- Influenced commissioners, in particular police and crime commissioners (PCCs) to positively engage the voluntary sector. PCCs in the North East have committed to working more closely with the voluntary sector, improving engagement and providing community safety grants. We have worked alongside PCCs to hold a number of events, including a voluntary sector forum in Durham and informing the sector of changes to the how victims’ services are delivered in Northumbria.
- Produced case studies of good practice in the North East to share locally and nationally to highlight the work of the voluntary sector working in housing, providing through the gate support, addressing rural youth crime and much more.
- Developed a ‘Directory of Voluntary Organisations working in the CJS in the North East’.
- Provided regular communication to the sector through Clinks’ Light Lunch, VONNE’s (Voluntary Organisations’ Network North East) ebulletin and a number of North East specific briefings, including guides to the Criminal Justice System (CJS); and the changes introduced by Transforming Rehabilitation.
- Supported the sector to network and collaborate through regular events, focusing on women’s health inequalities; Transforming Rehabilitation; multiple and complex needs; and social enterprise in prisons.
- Supported the development of the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) approach in Sunderland to improve outcomes for adults with multiple and complex needs.
- Carried out research to map the voluntary sector in the North East, producing the report ‘A snapshot from the North East: The voluntary sector working in criminal justice’.
- Commissioned training to support the sector to write winning bids in the CJS.
90% of respondents value the information dissemination. In order to further improve our communications, from July we are going to start a monthly bulletin, providing North East specific criminal justice information including events, funding opportunities and briefings. Please let me know if you would like to be added to the distribution list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the main aims of the partnership between Clinks and VONNE is to ensure the voluntary sector in the North East has more information about the CJS. Our survey showed that 86% of respondents feel more informed about the CJS and the partnership has given them the opportunity to influence policy.
All respondents felt that the services we provide meet their needs ‘very well’. When asked what the voluntary sector would like us to focus on over the next year, respondents requested us to continue to provide regular information, networking events, training, and commitment to supporting those with multiple and complex needs.
The biggest concerns for the voluntary sector for 2015 and beyond are:
- Funding and the impact of the cuts.
- Moving to large scale contracts.
- Transforming Rehabilitation / Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs).
- Changes to victims’ services.
- Housing for offenders.
- Mentoring services for young people.
To address some of these issues we will be working with Funding Information North East to circulate funding opportunities to those working in the CJS. We will continue to work with the newly formed CRCs to keep the sector informed about their delivery models and future opportunities for the sector.
PCCs are now responsible for commissioning local victims’ services. We are working closely with PCCs in the North East to ensure the sector is able to respond to changes in victims’ services commissioning.
We will continue to produce case studies showcasing the work of the voluntary sector in the North East. The survey results show that not everyone is aware of our case studies, so we will be working to promote these further in the future. Those that have used them have said they are a valuable resource therefore we need to ensure they are more widely promoted.
Many respondents have contacted me directly for one-to-one support and advice. The sector values this level of support and I will continue to provide it. If you have good practice to share, are starting a new project and require some signposting and information, or are interested to find out more about the CJS, do get in touch and I will arrange to visit your service.