Put simply, personalisation is a principle developed within social care over the last 20 years. The principle is that services should be designed to respond holistically to individual’s needs, giving people as much choice and control as possible over the support they receive.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, applying personalisation to services in the criminal justice system is less well-developed. Challenges include the public perception of offering a personalised service to people in the justice system, and how to embed greater choice and control into a service based on managing risk.
Yet desistance theory emphasises the need for a holistic, flexible and person-centred approach to supporting people who have offended and who wish to stop; and this is an approach many voluntary sector organisations successfully develop and promote.
Achieving personalisation means changing the way in which services are commissioned, delivered, and the culture and relationship between professionals and service users.
This may sound like a tall order, but a range of policy initiatives over many years – including the Corston Report, Bradley Report and more – have called for just such a change in our approach to criminal justice.
More recently, the Care Act (2014) placed personalisation for people with care and support needs (including people in prison) on a statutory footing:
“The Care Act aims to enhance the quality and personalisation of social care … A key principle of the Act is that individuals should be empowered to take part in every decision about their care.” (Clinks, 2015)
And the latest Strategic direction for health services in the justice system from NHS England lists…
“A decisive shift towards person-centred care that provides the right treatment and support”
…as one of seven priority areas for 2016-20 to achieve their ambition to narrow the gap in health and care outcomes between those in the criminal justice system and the rest of the population.
The challenge, as ever, is to translate these intentions into reality.
In these 4 short videos for Clinks, Professor Chris Fox outlines what personalisation means, how it applies to criminal justice, examples of personalisation in practice, and where you can go to find out more.