State of the sector 2021
How voluntary organisations emerged from a year of criminal justice reform and the Covid-19 pandemic
This is the eighth year that Clinks has conducted research into how voluntary organisations in the criminal justice system are faring. The research reflects the views of our members and provides a comprehensive picture of the 2020/21 financial year.
It highlights distinct challenges we have all faced, as well as the resourcefulness, determination and innovation of the sector to continue to provide vital services while navigating the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of the findings of this report – increasing complexity and urgency of need amongst service users, limited access to prisons, and fear for future grant funding streams – mirror the findings of our Covid-19 impact report from December 2020. However, this report provides a broader lens and a unique perspective to allow us to build on those findings and think more practically about the impact of the year on the sector moving forward.
Summary of findings:
The people voluntary organisations support
- People accessing voluntary sector services had higher levels of need
- The voluntary sector in criminal justice is leading the way in lived-experience involvement
The impact of Covid-19
- Voluntary sector services responded with flexibility and innovation to continue supporting people in the criminal justice system
- Inconsistent information from statutory service prevented voluntary organisations from supporting the emergency response to Covid-19
- Volunteer numbers fell as services responded to the pandemic
How services are funded
- Voluntary organisations were underpaid for their contracted work
- Emergency grant funding helped organisations to adapt their services and plug gaps in income
- Organisations fear that the availability of emergency funding will reduce in subsequent years