We have a talented team of 170 people delivering the Commissioned Rehabilitative Services contracts. They have really done us proud, working tirelessly through the difficult Covid period to continue our mission of Enabling Better Lives.
Commissioned Rehabilitative Services (CRS) are part of the Ministry of Justice’s probation system to help people reintegrate back into their communities. Ingeus delivers the contracts in partnership with the probation service and our charity partners.
We believe a holistic approach is essential in helping offenders to improve their lives and break the cycle of crime. People can fall foul of the law for all kinds of reasons but with the right support they can put the past behind them and become valued members of society.
Our team of advisers work closely with service users to offer sympathetic guidance and support as well as practical help. The aim is to break down any barriers to rehabilitation.
There are three key strands to the work we cover as part of the CRS contracts for probation service users. The first of these is accommodation, where we can support people with finding somewhere to live and prevent the risk of homelessness. The second strand is education, training and employment, where we help people access courses or jobs that will enable them to move forward with their lives. Finally, we offer personal wellbeing support, to help service users manage any health problems they may be experiencing. We’ll be taking a closer look at each of these key strands over the coming week – watch this space!
In this first year of the contract, we’ve helped so many people transform their lives and that’s something to celebrate! So far, we’ve supported 2,257 people with accommodation, 3,102 with education, training and employment, and 4,130 with their personal wellbeing. Think of the difference that is making, not just to the lives of the service users, but also their families and loved ones. And by supporting people to break down any barriers to their rehabilitation, we are helping to make our communities safer.
It’s important to note that the CRS contracts are just one part of the work done by Ingeus’ justice division. The wider picture reveals that in 2021 we supported more than 20,500 people to reintegrate into their communities upon leaving the criminal justice system. This included assisting over 7,000 people into employment.
Our advisors come from all walks of life and we recognise the value of employing people with lived experience of the criminal justice system. Ingeus gives service users a routeway to share their experiences and volunteer to support others – and this can lead to a paid role. Peer mentors are so valuable because they can quickly establish a strong rapport with service users and earn their trust. They can truly empathise with them due to their own experiences of the justice system. In the past year, we have trained 49 service users to become peer mentors and we look forward to welcoming many more.
Our peer mentors are involved in some ground-breaking initiatives, including the Innovation Group. This is an internal group of Ingeus staff who come up with solutions to problems such as digital exclusion and how to engage with service users. Peer mentors are getting involved in this group and putting forward their ideas.
In Leicester, we have the Creative Minds Group, which encourages service users to engage in arts-based activities. Creativity can be a wonderful outlet and it’s great to see people uncovering new talents.
Impact of imprisonment on families: part of our work supporting service users with their personal wellbeing also takes into consideration their family life. One of our peer mentors, Nick, and his wife Justine gave a talk at an event launched by the Violence Reduction Network in Leicester. The couple shared their experiences to an audience of around 100 people and it was very useful to get a family member’s viewpoint. This is now being considered by the Innovation Group to help us improve our work with service users’ families.
Strong partnerships are key to the success of our programmes. We work with local voluntary and community sector services and can signpost service users to them. Through these partnerships, our service users can become less socially isolated, learn new skills and enjoy activities in their local community.
One of our voluntary partners is The WEA in the North East, which helps provide learning opportunities for adults of all ages and educational backgrounds. Natasha Alderson-Pollock, senior area education manager, says: "WEA are really excited about the partnership with Ingeus. Together we can provide a holistic approach and with several courses due to start, I am really looking forward to seeing the results.”
We also have a formal supply chain which is essential to our work. We are grateful to be working with Pact (Prison Advice and Care Trust), a national charity that supports people in prison and people on probation as well as their children and families. Change Grow Live, a charity that helps people change their lives, is another key partner. This charity can offer help with everything from quitting alcohol, drugs and smoking, to escaping domestic abuse, securing accommodation and improving health and wellbeing. We’re also delighted to work with Leonard Cheshire, a national charity which supports people with disabilities to allow them to live, learn and work as independently as they wish.
Partnerships are also key to making sure what we do work. We work with independent evaluators, including criminal justice expert Russell Webster, to review the impact of our services.
“Working with Ingeus is a fulfilling experience. It’s not typical for big organisations to be focused so resolutely on the people they are seeking to help and to realise that their staff are their biggest asset. As an independent evaluator, it is good to know that Ingeus is keen to know both what is working well and what needs improving.”
- Russell Webster.
We are incredibly proud to be celebrating our first birthday as a provider of Commissioned Rehabilitative Services. We have been able to bring our many years of experience in delivering justice services to these contracts and have benefited from our strong local partnerships. Together we support people to address underlying challenges and start anew, to live a life without offending and achieve their potential.
There will be several blogs during this anniversary week, taking a more in-depth look at the work we’ve been doing. This is just the beginning, however, and there’s so much more to do. Look out for an exciting announcement at the end of the week!