This blog gives an update from Diane Caddle and Phil Douglas, Joint Chairs of the new Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and Ministry of Justice Third sector taskforce.
As the impact of Covid-19 continues to be felt across public life, we wanted to update you on how HMPPS and the Ministry of Justice are working with Clinks and the Third sector more broadly during this challenging time.
Third sector taskforce
We have set up a taskforce, commissioned by the Prisons and Probation Minister Lucy Frazer QC, to make sure that our work is co-ordinated and integrated into the Government’s broader response to Covid-19. The focus of the taskforce is to:
- Mobilise and co-ordinate offers of support for the End of Custody Temporary Release programme and other Covid-related measures, including services aimed at prisons where regimes have been restricted because of the virus. We are extremely grateful for the offers of support that we have already received via the mobilisation protocol that we co-designed with Clinks and we are considering and responding to each offer individually.
- Provide a platform to escalate and resolve issues impacting criminal justice voluntary organisations and monitor the sector’s operations, capacity and financial resilience - both during Covid-19 and in the longer-term once the immediate crisis is over.
- Seek financial support for voluntary organisations by advocating for resources available from the Government and co-ordinating with the philanthropic sector.
- Consider suggestions from the voluntary sector on issues of policy and operational change, so that together we can deliver better outcomes for people in the criminal justice system during Covid-19 and beyond.
To provide clarity and avoid unnecessary duplication, Clinks will continue to act as the intermediary for the broader sector, though this does not exclude direct contact with organisations. For example, specific issues are discussed regularly with the Reducing Re-offending Special Interest Group and we have identified sector leads who members of the taskforce will engage with as part of their specific workstreams.
£300,000 funding made available to support Third sector
To support the Third sector in its response to Covid and in its continued support to us, HMPPS has made available £300,000*. The funding will allow the sector to help meet anticipated increases in demand, facilitate changes to delivery models and to fill gaps in the provision of current services.
From Monday 18th May, organisations will be able to apply to Clinks for a share of this funding. Grants will be decided on by a panel of Clinks, HMPPS and a philanthropic funder.
To be considered, organisations need to have a track record of working with people in the criminal justice system. Bids should be directly related to Covid, meet an immediate requirement or anticipated gap in provision and not duplicate existing services which are already being provided.
HMPPS and Clinks have been working hard to make it as easy as possible for organisations to apply for this grant funding and to provide clarity about the eligibility criteria. Clinks, who will administer the scheme, will provide more detailed information when they launch the scheme early next week.
In addition to this funding, there will be wider Government support to the sector, chiefly through a grant programme administered by the National Lottery Community Fund. We will work with the sector to provide support to access wider Government grant programmes.
Finally, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone in the sector for your response to this crisis. In these incredibly difficult circumstances, we have been extremely impressed by the dedication, professionalism and proactivity that the sector has shown.
*HMPPS have provided £300k for this grants programme. Clinks is able to retain up to £25k to administer the programme from that total. We are hoping not to have to do that and if successful we will grant the full £300k to the sector.
Notes from the Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group (RR3) Special Interest Group on Covid-19
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We are extremely disappointed that the JCVI advice on phase 2 of the COVID vaccination programme does not prioritise people in prison and those who work with them, including voluntary sector staff and volunteers https://gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-phase-2-of-the-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-programme-advice-from-the-jcvi/jcvi-interim-statement-on-phase-2-of-the-covid-19-vaccination-programme