Message from the chief executive officer
“Here at West Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company we continue to deliver high quality supervision of offenders which focuses on enforcing the sentence whilst supporting service users to become active citizens integrated in their local communities”
Welcome you to the latest edition of the West Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company’s (CRC) sentencers’ newsletter.
Since the government launched its Transforming Rehabilitation initiative we have witnessed significant and fundamental changes in the probation service in the UK both in the CRCs and the National Probation Service.
Here at West Yorkshire CRC we continue to deliver high quality supervision of offenders which focuses on enforcing the sentence whilst supporting service users to become active citizens integrated in their local communities. Initial sentence plans are tailored to service users’ needs.
The provision of Rehabiliation Activity Requirement (RAR) days in sentences offers a flexible
approach to structuring support for offenders. Some of the activities they are directed to include education, training and employment support, the addressing substance misuse and women’s programmes which take place at our community based women’s centres.
Many of our service users are out of work, or under-employed, and to address this early on in the sentence, we have introduced an education and training induction for service users who aren’t working which promotes engagement through working with service users to harness their aspirations.
We are proud to share with you examples of our successes. One of the examples below is Stacie Bell, a service user who, since completing her sentence and has trained to become a offender support team worker at the New Wortley Community Centre near HMP Armley in Leeds.
As usual we feature an update on a couple of Community Payback projects in West Yorkshire, including our work in on Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s iconic Bradford Park Avenue ground and our recent work in the restoration of a the Wortley area of Leeds.
If you want further information on any of the topics covered in this newsletter or are interested in finding out more about the work of HLNY, we would be happy to attend Bench events or to arrange a meeting.
Martin Davies, Chief Executive
Pilot online drug and alcohol treatment programme
West Yorkshire CRC is piloting a pioneering online treatment programme for offenders and those on probation struggling with alcohol and drug dependency.
Breaking Free is the first ever digital intervention to be accredited by the Correctional Services Accreditation and Advice Panel (CSAAP) at the Ministry of Justice and has been proven to reduce substance misuse and associated re-offending rates.
Breaking Free is a powerful and adaptable digital health platform which targets the underlying psychological and lifestyle factors that drive addictive behaviours and can be accessed at any time via PC, tablet and a mobile phone app.
Breaking Free is an evidence-based treatment and recovery programme that has been commissioned by more than 60 Local Authorities and NHS Trusts across the UK and has been adopted by several leading national substance misuse treatment charities. It is augmented by Staying Free, a powerful relapse prevention toolkit in a mobile app that is now available on the Android and iOS platforms.
Martin Davies, chief executive at West Yorkshire CRC, said: “Substance misuse is one of the biggest factors contributing to the high rates of reoffending in the UK, with a reconviction rate of 62% for offenders who use drugs in the month prior to imprisonment.
“Breaking this link requires offenders to be given consistent access to evidence-based treatment for substance dependency inside prisons. It is also vital to provide them with genuine continuity of care once they are released back to the community, when they are most at risk of relapse, overdose and reoffending. Breaking Free online will significantly help service users address their addiction issues and significantly reduce re-offending.”
The Breaking Free programme will help people achieve measurable and enduring behavioural change in a diverse range of settings and has already been endorsed by the Ministry of Justice, the Medical Research Council framework for developing and evaluating complex healthcare interventions, NHS England, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System.
Biggest recruitment drive launched
Interserve has launched its biggest recruitment drive since winning the contract to run probation services at five Community Rehabilitation Companies three years ago, as the company seeks to recruit a total of more than 30 probation case managers.
The company is committed to providing the best possible service to people on probation.
Ian Mulholland, Interserve’s director of justice, said: “I am delighted to be announcing details of the recruitment drive and encourage anyone interested in learning more about the exciting positions to explore what we have on offer.
“We are committed to building a great work environment, which we believe will in turn result in a great experience for our service users.
“Our aim is to rehabilitate ex-offenders and protect the public. The jobs on offer are tremendously rewarding because they will enable successful applicants to support people to make positive changes to their lives.”
EFQM award: West Yorkshire CRC committed to excellence
West Yorkshire CRC has received accreditation from the European Foundation for Quality Management following a recent assessment.
The rigorous assessment is an action-based learning project that involves identifying, prioritising and implementing improvement projects using the EFQM Excellence Model.
Organisations are only recognised if they are considered to have “the building blocks of excellence” in place. These include analysing strategy and results, stakeholder and people management and the company’s sustainability policies.
Martin Davies, chief executive of West Yorkshire CRC, said: “The rigorous assessment has provided us with a benchmark of where we are all at now. The accreditation process is particularly beneficial because it will help us as we continue to improve our performance.
“Ultimately, this underlines our commitment to be the best that we can be in order to provide the best possible outcomes for our service users.”
Diane Dibley, the lead assessor, said: “Throughout the six assessments we conducted the level of passion for, and commitment to delivering, the company’s vision of redefining the future for people and places was instantly evident and impressive.”
Cricket returns to Bradford Park Avenue
The official opening of the revamped iconic Bradford Park Avenue cricket ground has been hailed “a very special day for Yorkshire cricket and Bradford” thanks to the help of a team of offenders working on Community Payback.
Yorkshireman and England captain Joe Root was on-hand to cut the ribbon formally opening the first stage of the multi-million pound development, consisting of eight new artificial practice wickets and a community pavilion on the site.
The ambitious bid to restore the ground to its former glory is a partnership between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC), and Bradford Council, with work mapped out in five stages up to 2019.
Mohammed Bashir (Bash), Community Payback placement coordinator with West Yorkshire CRC, said: “We were approached by Yorkshire County Cricket Club working in partnership with Bradford Council to help revamp the ground so that it could be restored to its former glory at the same time as bringing many communities together.”
Bash added: “We are very proud of the work carried out by services users on Community Payback to bring Bradford Park Avenue back in to play. The project was delivered to meet the demand to improve cricket facilities in Bradford and support the local community school’s sports and leisure initiative.”
Neil Robson, lead supervisor for the project with West Yorkshire CRC, said: “Service user have been brilliant and have learned some important skills during their work which has involved general clearance work around the ground, preparing and painting the main perimeter wall, de-weeding terraces and seating area and cutting back overgrown vegetation.”
Mark Arthur, YCCC chief executive, said: “I’m absolutely delighted it’s come to fruition, this is a very special day for Yorkshire Cricket and Bradford. We are something within a mile of the city centre with a large British-Asian population who are mad for their cricket. That’s where the germ of the idea came from for having a first-class cricket ground for the community.”
Wortley residents praise restoration work by offenders
Residents in Wortley, Leeds, have praised offenders working on a Community Payback project to clean up the Gamble Hill area.
After a “walk about” by residents and Leeds City Council officials, councillors invited West Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) to carry out a Community Payback project in the area to clean up the area.
Offenders, spent more than 250 hours working to clear the site of undergrowth, rubbish and fly-tipping and remove a redundant fenced corridor. Total work is estimated to be worth more than £2,000 – contributing to major savings for Leeds City Council.
Cllr Debra Coupar, executive member for communities, said: “The work delivered by the Community Payback team in Gamble Hill is a great example of how offenders can put something back into the community while learning important life skills. Residents have been full of praise for the work of the men and women doing Community Payback, especially as the rats have disappeared.”
Andrew Evans, placement coordinator at West Yorkshire CRC, said: “Community Payback is a punishment for breaking the law but it is also a way for those on probation to learn new skills and to support their rehabilitation. The team have learned some important new skills which will help in their rehabilitation.”
The Community Payback scheme works across a wide range of projects in the community in West Yorkshire renovating community gardens, parks, church yards and schools.
Stacie Bell (right) with West Yorkshire CRC case manager Katie Leon
Stacie Bell: “I was getting older and realised I had to look after my son. I’d been to jail and didn’t want to back again”
Stacie Bell, 32, an offender support team worker at the New Wortley Community Centre, near HMP Armely in Leeds helps offenders coming out of prison.
Stacie helps them find stability at a time when many former prisoners are at their most vulnerable and most likely to fall back into their former offending habit. And Stacie knows what she is talking about.
Her service users trust and respect her because Stacie is an ex-offender.
As a teenager Stacie had a history of crime involving a number of driving offences, theft, shop-lifting and dealing in drugs. “I was off the rails,” says Stacie, “life at home was fairly unstable with my mum and dad. Dad was in and out of prison. I taught myself to drive aged about 13 and used to drive around without a license or insurance. I got caught it didn’t stop me
“I left school when I was 14 when I got pregnant with my son – he’s now 17 and working as a trackman on the railways.
“I volunteered because I always wanted to do this sort of work and Katie has been really supportive in helping me along the way. I think the service users trust me and listen to me because they know have had the same experiences as them – they can talk to me. I love what I am doing now”
“The wake-up call came for me in 2004 when I was sent to New Hall prison. I was sentenced to three months and ended up doing six weeks. I was getting older and realised I had to look after my son. I’d been to jail and didn’t want to back again. I really turned it around.”
Stacie met Katie Leon, volunteer co-ordinator at West Yorkshire CRC, who introduced her to the Right Direction volunteer service in which ex-offenders who have recently completed probation help to motivate service users to change. All volunteers undertake 60-hours of learning to qualify to be a volunteer in probation.
Stacie was a peer-mentor volunteer for more than two years at the CRC’s York Road office in Leeds and was eventually employed part-time in her present role at New Wortley. “I am currently working 16 hours a week but that will shortly go up to 30 hours,” says Stacie.
“I volunteered because I always wanted to do this sort of work and Katie has been really supportive in helping me along the way.
“I think the service users trust me and listen to me because they know have had the same experiences as them – they can talk to me. I love what I am doing now.”