Clinks’ Stronger Voice project is a three-year project which aims to help the voluntary sector working in criminal justice develop a unified and influential voice, at both a national and regional level. The project is funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, as part of their wider Criminal Justice Grant Programme. For more information about the programme please click here. We are really pleased to be undertaking this project and wanted to update you about what we have done so far, what support is available and what is on the horizon.
Developing your influencing knowledge and skills
Earlier this year, we started our series of expert seminars. We heard from Prison Reform Trust and Unlock about their approaches to influencing policy as well as from our own policy team about Clinks’ work. Over 100 people signed up to some of the events, meaning we had to cap the bookings in some cases. We want to make sure as many organisations as possible can access the information from these seminars, which we hope will inspire new ways of working, give you interesting examples to develop your approach from, and solidify your current knowledge and work.
We know that people learn differently and will have different pressures on your time and resources. We are therefore able to offer both the recordings from each session alongside a written case study:
- Influencing policy: An introduction and Clinks’ approach
recording | case study
- Unlock’s landmark challenge to the government’s criminal records disclosure regime
recording | case study
- The role of influencing in Prison Reform Trust’s work
recording | case study
We will be running a further series of online expert seminars to help give insight into what other organisations are doing, as well as generate ideas for identifying where you could have influence. We will be promoting these on our website and in Light Lunch so keep an eye out for further information.
Our new training programme
In addition to the seminars, we have been developing an exciting new policy influencing training programme for our members that will launch in a few months. We know how diverse the criminal justice sector is and have developed the training programme with this in mind - aiming to provide modules suitable for organisations right at the beginning of their policy influencing work to those who are more advanced and have been undertaking this work for a number of years. We hope the training programme has something for everyone.
We are putting the final touches to the programme but to give you a flavour of what is to come, we are hoping to include: the nuts and bolts of the parliamentary process and how you can use this to influence change; how to develop and frame your policy messages; and an introduction to policy influencing. We recognise the importance of ongoing support and mentoring to embed learning and are working to make an offer of this kind available too.
We will be promoting the details of this through our usual communications channels so keep your eyes peeled for more information.
Developing clear, evidenced, and effective messages
Alongside supporting organisations to develop the knowledge and skills to affect change, we are also exploring how we can work with the sector to develop shared messages. As part of this we have consulted with the sector the policy priorities on which we advocate for change, to ensure they accurately reflect the experiences of voluntary organisations working in criminal justice.
We kicked off this process with a survey at the end of last year, to consult the voluntary sector about your views of our current priorities. We have been reviewing the responses to the survey and are going to use that information to help us develop and refine our policy messages further.
We will continue to build on this over the coming year, exploring how we best frame and communicate these messages. Look out both for opportunities to get involved in this work, which we want to co-produce with you and for the outputs of it which will include an updated version of Clinks Thinks.
If you have any questions about the project or would like to learn more please do get in touch with Will Downs, Senior Policy Officer at email@example.com.
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