Clinks’ area development team provides focused support to our members based in Wales, West Yorkshire, the North East and the North West. We hold three criminal justice forums per year in each of these regions. The forums provide a chance for people working in the criminal justice system to take some time out of their day-to-day work to find out about national policy changes, and consider how these changes may impact their organisations. Although each forum takes on a slightly different format, to cater to varied needs, they all offer the opportunity for organisations and individuals to showcase their work, discuss common challenges and share good practice.
The most recent set of forums were held in Gateshead, Bradford, Manchester and Newport and were attended by a total of 110 people from the voluntary sector and statutory partners.
At each forum, Clinks’ policy team provided national criminal justice policy updates, alongside a variety of insightful guest speakers including: New Future’s Network; Prison Radio Association; West Yorkshire OPCC; Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Gwent Drug and Alcohol Service. The speakers covered a range of topics including housing, employability, advice, multiple disadvantage, families and the arts.
The forums always allow time for participants to discuss challenges and opportunities they are currently facing, and across the four events, the issues raised were consistent:
- Funding is seen to be the biggest challenge, especially for smaller organisations who feel like they are often in competition with their peers
- Universal credit and access to bank accounts continue to be huge challenges for those in contact with the criminal justice system
- Many people are facing difficulty navigating the criminal justice landscape, in particular working in prisons
- The upcoming changes to probation are generally seen as a good opportunity for the sector.
As part of the discussion, Clinks asked what people value most from participating in the forums, and they gave the following feedback:
- Having the opportunity to network and build new connections
- Gaining a greater insight into the work of other organisations working in the Criminal Justice Sector
- Increasing their understanding of the work of Clinks.
The area development team thoroughly enjoy hosting these forums and look forward to them evolving and growing each year. The next series of events will be held in November/December, more information can be found here.
If your organisation would like to showcase your work at a future event, please contact your relevant Area Development Officer:
Natalie Maidment – North East – Natalie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Ivelina Metchkarova-Taylor – West Yorkshire - email@example.com
Angela Lucas – North West – firstname.lastname@example.org
Bryn Hall – Wales – email@example.com