Welcome to our fourth publication for sentencers. In this edition:
- A foreword by chief executive Chris Edwards
- Coverage about our services for women offenders
- Paths to Success, our Rate Card, has been launched
- How you can get in touch with us.
Foreword by Chief Executive Chris Edwards
I write at a time when a further consultation about the future of probation services has just concluded, early termination of Community Rehabilitation Company contracts has been announced and a new competitive process commences in 2019. This underlines that CRC staff must continue to operate in a constantly changing environment in which resources remain tight.
Against this backdrop CRCs continue to be closely scrutinised by HMPPS Contract Teams and subject to an annual audit by HMIP. I continue to be proud of the excellent work of our staff – all the more remarkable given the landscape I describe.
Throughout 2018 in particular, we have spent a lot of time looking at activity which we hope improves the confidence of both Judiciary and Magistracy. We have evidence that indicates higher rates of enforcement and closer monitoring of those undertaking Community Payback and/or Behaviour Change Programmes. This means we can demonstrate timely starts to these interventions and consistent activity to overcome barriers to attendance. Whilst not being complacent, and I am conscious of individual cases still causing concern, I believe we are in an increasingly strong position with regards to delivering sentences of the court.
I am also pleased with the greater direct contact we are having with sentencers. The increased dialogue means we are able to redress the negative impact of the CRC part of probation being kept at a distance from courts for the first part of their contracts, a situation in hindsight which most would accept was a structural mistake. I am very much aware there is more to do on this agenda, but we are continuing to push for opportunities to showcase what we do and in my opinion, we are progressing quite quickly to the point where CRC staff will be available in court to provide timely and accurate information.
The final period of current CRC contracts – from now until the end of 2020 – will continue to be challenging, and we must work hard to keep the staff group stable and intact when uncertainty over new owners will inevitably cause some to be unsettled. My commitment is that we will do all we can to keep on an improving arc and deliver court sentences with integrity – seeing the satisfaction of sentencers as being one of our major criteria of success.
I hope you find this edition, which focuses on female offenders, informative. Please feel free to contact me to arrange a visit or for more details about anything you read in this publication: [email protected]
CGM CRC’s approach to women service users
Women and staff at our Salford Together Women's Project
The Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company has endorsed a Government strategy aimed at providing the best possible support to female service users.
The CRC supervises women on Community Orders, custodial licences, Suspended Sentence Orders and unpaid work orders.
In partnership with the Greater Manchester Women’s Alliance, the CRC helps run a women-only centre in each of the local authority areas across Greater Manchester. Centres are also being launched in Cheshire.
Ceri Schofield, CGM CRC’s Community Director, is the lead for women’s services and is proud of the work being done.
She said: “I am delighted the Ministry of Justice has published a strategy which endorses everything we have been striving to achieve.
“The justice secretary David Gauke has outlined his hope that the number of women in prison falls from its current level of 3,850. I passionately believe he correctly identifies that many women caught up in the prison estate are themselves vulnerable, and would be better served by receiving the right support in their communities.
“At CGM CRC we work with a number of dedicated partnership agencies to achieve the best possible outcomes for our women service users.”
The Government’s strategy includes three key principles:
- Fewer women coming into the criminal justice system
- Fewer women in custody (especially on short-term sentences) and a greater proportion of women managed in the community successfully
- Better conditions for those in custody.
Ceri added: “Our women’s centres provide a safe, women-only environment that supports our service users to make positive change. In addition, our staff based at the centres are dedicated specialists who are highly skilled at balancing risk management with personalised support to help women offenders achieve results.”
CGM CRC is focusing on providing the right Rehabilitation Activity Requirements for women. Interventions and support packages under development include:
- Domestic Abuse
- Psychoactive substances information briefing
- Shoplifting prevention
- Preventing drug misuse.
The Ministry of Justice’s strategy can be accessed by clicking this link.
Magistrates praise Pauline for her progress
Women on Community Payback
A woman in a female-only Community Payback group decorating Stretford town hall.
Women on unpaid work orders across Cheshire and Greater Manchester are able to complete their Community Payback in a variety of ways all aimed at helping them successfully complete their sentence.
All women sentenced to Community Payback can attend women only centre’s for their induction. Once inducted, they are then referred to CGM CRC’s placement coordinators whose role it is to ensure that people are given safe and appropriate Community Payback placements in accordance with their risk.
Adam Powsney, placement coordinator, said: “We consider other important factors, such as does each individual want a female only placement, do they need child friendly reporting times and so on.
“We run women’s task groups every Tuesday which starts at 9.30am so they miss the men’s reporting hours and which returns at 3pm so enables people to pick up their children from school.
“We also run a number of individual placements at charitable shops and other organisations across the region. These are only appropriate for people whose risk factors allow such a placement, but they are an invaluable way to help people pay back for the crimes they have committed.
“For women offenders unable to attend during the day, or potentially unsuitable due to risk to be based elsewhere, we host an inspirational project at Salford probation where staff and service users run an Evening Care Group that supports adults with disabilities and conditions such as Down’s Syndrome.”
CGM CRC also on occasion runs female only Community Projects at women’s centres and charity shops. Examples of these are the Together Women’s Project in Eccles and Women MATTA in Hulme.
Adam added: “We are flexible and do everything we can to support successful completions. For example, I met a service user with childcare needs whose first language was Somali and had limited English. I managed to arrange a unique placement at the Somali Golden Centre of Opportunity where she completed her hours.
“Often women state a preference for working with standard Community Payback groups, and that is also supported.”
Paths to Success - our Rate Card
Cheshire & Greater Manchester CRC has launched a new rate card brochure that showcases the interventions and programmes available to the National Probation Service and sentencers. The brochure, called Paths to Success, is designed to better engage with the NPS and others who commission our services. It will also make it easier for the courts to allocate specific interventions for service users.
To view Paths to Success, please click this link.