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Revolving Doors ambition for 2020 to 2024.
This strategy paper sets out our ambition for 2020-2024: a smarter criminal justice system that makes the ‘revolving door’ of crisis and crime avoidable and escapable.
Over the last decade, the fastest growing group of offenders has been those convicted of 15 or more previous offences. They are now the largest proportion of offenders, accounting for more crime and more victims than any other group. Reoffending costs England and Wales over £18 billion per year and now accounts for three-quarters of all proven offences.
We know that behind these statistics is misery. Not only in the significant hurt caused to victims and their families or the damage to communities, but in the lives of most prolific offenders. The cycle of crisis and crime is caused by hurt and lived in pain.
Last year we found that the childhoods of those in the revolving door had a typical pattern. We saw exceptional levels of abuse, neglect and household disruption, profound levels of poverty, and extreme levels of community violence. And we see the consequences of these childhoods in our prisoner population.
We know that being trapped in the revolving door is not inevitable. It is possible, for individuals and for society, to be free of the cycle of crisis and crime. This is our vision, and this is what we strive for.
The purpose of this guide is to enable commissioners and providers to plan for, implement and embed peer support within their Liaison and Diversion (L&D) services.
Research has shown that peer support brings benefits for the service, the staff team, the person using the service and the peer supporter themselves.
With NHS England, our Lived Experience Team (LET) co-designed a service specification for a Liaison and Diversion Peer Support Model. Following successful pilots, this model will now be embedded in all contracts for L&D service providers.
This guide covers the recruitment, induction, training and ongoing support of peer supporters.
This review looks at Liaison and Diversion peer support pathfinder sites in Birmingham & Solihull and Wiltshire. It evaluates peer support from the point of view of service users and peer supporters and analyses the social value return on investment. It also includes recommendations for the future.
Much of what we found was positive. All the service users described a positive impact on their lives, including more stable living conditions, better financial circumstances and headway with other services. They felt the peer supporters understood and respected them and showed commitment and persistence in keeping them in contact with the service.
The Social Cost Benefit Analysis (SCBA) conducted as part of the research suggested a positive social value return on every £1 invested, with a central estimate of £2.28.
There was also evidence that the peer supporters, both paid and volunteers, benefited positively
from the role they played in the service. Paid workers were moving on to new employment and
volunteers spoke of stability in their lives and ambitions for the future.
Our research also highlighted issues, however. The biggest of these was the sustainability of models that rely so heavily on the networks and ‘social capital’ of the paid workers.
As a result, we recommend a hybrid model that combines the best elements of these two models. This would have sustainability at its heart. It would include paid staff and volunteers and ensure that there is opportunity and planned progression for all of them.
This evaluation looks at the impact of Psychologically Informed Environments (PIE) as part of the Birmingham Changing Futures Together (BCFT) programme. It also aims to understand how PIE has been embedded in services, and how staff have experienced PIE training and Reflective Practice.
The BCFT programme works with service users and organisations to shape the delivery of services that support vulnerable people with multiple needs in leading fulfilled lives. Local partners have designed it to improve services for the people using them, focusing on long-term service and system change. It also aims to ensure that the successful models and approaches pioneered through this project become mainstream.
With a focus on working in partnership with ‘experts by experience’, the project develops the collaboration and integration of agencies to improve the client journey. The use of PIE aims to enable clients to make changes in their lives, usually seen in behaviours and/or emotions. Our evaluation showed that the PIE approach enabled staff to interact appropriately
and meaningfully with clients, with care, compassion and good humour.
This evaluation demonstrates the benefits that this comprehensive training and reflective practice package has brought to the Birmingham service landscape. It also shows that these could be lost without a concentrated effort by all services to ensure that it extends beyond this specific experience.
The ongoing evaluation of the Birmingham Changing Futures Together (BCFT) programme has recently focused on three elements of the programme:
- an understanding of the current experiences of people with multiple and complex needs
- the impact of Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE) training on staff and their working methods
- the impact of the ‘Expert by Experience’ programme on the wider system.
This report draws together key highlights and learning for the overall programme. Lessons can be learned, and positive aspects reinforced and used to influence systems change.
Service users were more positive than before about engaging with the support available from services across Birmingham. However, some service users were not aware of the wider range of services available, and more should be done to inform people with complex needs.
The PIE training of staff was important in the wider picture of engaging often entrenched service users. Service users viewed staff who had undertaken PIE training as having an increased level of skill and compassion. And most staff reported PIE training as enabling them to read between the lines, pause and consider the best way to respond to clients.
Service users in Birmingham were very positive about the staff working with them, and PIE training has undoubtedly had an impact. The work of Lead Workers and Peer Mentors was highly valued and appeared to make tangible difference to outcomes. Stakeholders were also overwhelmingly positive about the preparedness, work ethic and desire to change the system shown by the ‘Experts by Experience’.
Despite system change being the central aim of the BCFT programme, there is a lack of understanding among stakeholders of what system change is – both as a concept and specifically in the context of Birmingham. Against this backdrop, however, there was evidence of positive impacts on service users and ‘Experts by Experience’. There was also evidence that some services were working well together, though more could be done to make this more seamless.
This report shares the findings from the first round of qualitative fieldwork evaluating the Birmingham Changing Futures Together (BCFT) programme. It explores how it feels to be a service user in Birmingham and reflects on how people accessing support view changes in recent years.
Although the report doesn’t set out to provide recommendations for practice, it includes clear learning for both the system and services that deserves further reflection.
BCFT aims to improve the lives of people across Birmingham experiencing multiple and complex needs. The programme focuses on service and system change, aiming to ensure that models and approaches pioneered during the project become mainstream.
The overwhelming majority of interviewees were very positive about services - specifically the staff, who were repeatedly described with glowing appreciation. This positively impacted on service users’ confidence, their trust in services and their outlook on the future.
Overall, there were reports that initial access to certain services for people facing multiple and complex needs was improving. However, several people noted the high thresholds for mental health services and severe problems accessing stable or permanent accommodation.
Wider funding cuts and reduced opening hours in some services were noticed and reported as negative. However, the recent establishment of a Liaison and Diversion service seemed to be making a positive difference.
Service users also noted an increased level of staff skill and compassion across most services. Many talked about effective joint working between the homelessness and substance misuse services, but there was less evidence of consistent collaboration to address wider needs.
The work of Lead Workers and Peer Mentors was highly valued and appeared to make a tangible difference to outcomes. There were indications that this had long-term impacts on service users’ identity and confidence.
This report aims to share research into how stakeholders engage with the Every Step of the Way (ESOW) programme. It explores the programme’s impact at both service and systems level and notes lessons for the future. It also captures Experts by Experience’s views on their impact across the system.
This research set out to gain an understanding of the experiences of Experts by Experience in the ESOW programme. It also looked at the impact of Experts by Experience on individual Birmingham services. Finally, it sought to understand the system-wide impact that Experts by Experience are having.
To enter the ESOW programme as an expert, an individual must have experienced at least two complex needs in the last five years. They can be referred by a support worker or a peer, but often refer themselves. Each expert now enters the programme for two years and has an Engagement and Development worker who supports them individually through their Personal Development Impact Plan (PDIP).
The aim of the ESOW programme is to support the experts in their development at the same time has having an impact on wider system service change across Birmingham. Each expert is offered opportunities to bring their experience as service users with complex needs to services, projects and policies. The objective is to help these services, projects and policies to work better, both individually and across the system.
The key learning points that emerged from this research are the need to:
• Make ESOW more visible
• Raise awareness of what system change means
• Capture the impact of ESOW
• Use the impact feedback loop
• Prepare stakeholders to work with Experts by Experience
• Consider the quality of opportunities that arise.
This peer study seeks to understand the extent of repeat victimisation among people who have moved from the streets into supported accommodation in London. It also explores the barriers these people face when reporting crime, progressing through the criminal justice process and accessing support.
Previous research has shown that people sleeping rough are vulnerable to repeat and severe victimisation. However, there is a critical gap in understanding experiences of crime after people move on to supported accommodation and how to reduce this continued victimisation.
This research was co-delivered with peer researchers - people with lived experience of sleeping rough. It shows how the expertise of people with experience can offer a unique insight and essential evidence that can help transform services.
The report brings together the experiences of people who moved from streets into supported accommodation in London. The majority of them have faced multiple issues, including mental ill-health, learning difficulties, and drug addiction. From just 20 of them, we heard detailed accounts of 46 incidents of violent crime - including robbery, physical threats and assault, and sexual harassment and abuse.
Our key findings show:
• A high prevalence of severe and repeated victimisation
• An overlap between victims and offenders
• The stigma attached to repeat victimisation
• The significant barriers to reporting crime
• The need for a voice for people with lived experience.
Our research leads us to propose five principles to ensure all victims have access to fair justice. These include trauma-informed systems, peer-support models in housing and criminal justice and the sharing of good practice.
It is also clear that operational and strategic changes need to take place and the report ends with recommendations for various services and individuals. These include local authorities, homelessness, police and victim support services, the Victims’, Police and Crime and Public Health Commissioners, and the College of Policing.
This report examines the key progress made in the criminal justice system in the past decade for people with mental health problems and learning disabilities. 10 years after Lord Bradley’s landmark 2009 report, it looks at what is needed now to ensure we make another decade of difference.
Lord Bradley’s report set out a vision for better support throughout the criminal justice system for people with mental health problems and learning disabilities. Since then, there has been concerted effort towards achieving that vision, so that people with vulnerabilities are more able to receive the support they need. This has included progress towards universal coverage of Liaison and Diversion services working to a nationally mandated operating model for people of all ages.
There are other promising innovations, too - for example, the emergence of various ‘street triage’ schemes. Also, the piloting of new sentencing options allows people to serve their sentence in the community while getting the support they need.
Alongside these changes, co-production in the criminal justice system has gathered pace and is increasingly embedded in commissioning. Police and Crime Commissioners have been introduced, with new powers to reduce and tackle crime in local areas. Our courts and tribunals are also undergoing major reform, including digitalisation of services.
However, prisons have seen rising rates of self-harm and violence, and suicides in prison remain a serious concern despite efforts to reduce risk. The last ten years have also seen unprecedentedly large and sustained spending cuts in public health, youth, criminal justice and voluntary sector services – all essential to meeting the needs of vulnerable people.
Despite significant progress, the needs of too many people in the criminal justice system with mental ill-health or learning disabilities are not properly identified. Too many still end up in prison when they could have been safely diverted and cared for in the community. Too many people who continue through the justice process are left without the adequate care and support they need in prison and after release.
This report contains sections on early identification, arrest and prosecution, courts, sentencing and prisons and resettlement, and ends with 10 recommendations. A decade on from the Bradley Report, we are as ambitious as ever for change.
This briefing welcomes progress made since the start of our Shortsighted campaign calling for a reduction in the use of short prison sentences. The briefing also encourages people to join us in urging the Government to turn its recent warm words into firm proposals.
Our campaign shows that short sentences are short-sighted. It asks the government to consider ways to restrict the use of short custodial sentences of less than six months. It also urges them to ensure community sentences command public confidence and deal effectively with some of the underlying causes of persistent, petty offending.
Over half of all people sent to prison are sentenced to less than six months, most of them for non-violent offences. The most common offence for which people are given short prison sentences is theft, in particular shoplifting. This is often linked to underlying problems such as poverty, drug addiction, homelessness and poor mental health.
Our campaign has had real impact. The Justice Secretary gave a landmark speech on “smart justice” and put cutting short prison sentences at the heart of his plans.
The Justice Secretary is right to press on with this reform. Most people agree with the need to reduce the use of short prison sentences, including the public, MPs and several major newspapers.
We call on the Government to publish a Green Paper setting out how they will restrict the use of these short custodial sentences - including through legislation. We also call on the Ministry of Justice to strengthen community sentences so that they command public confidence. Community sentences need to address the underlying causes of offending, including mental ill-health and problematic drug or alcohol use.
This capability framework has been developed to support the implementation of Public Health England (PHE)’s Better care for people with co-occurring mental health and alcohol/drug use conditions guide. The PHE guide was developed by an expert panel as a tool for commissioners and service providers.
The capability framework is one of a number of practical tools aiming to help people to implement the new guidance. It describes the values, knowledge and skills required to work with people who have co-occurring mental health and alcohol/drug use conditions. It is designed to be relevant to workers in a variety of settings and services – including social services, mental and physical health settings and alcohol/drug misuse services - and in the criminal justice system.
Designed as an individual development tool, it can also be used and modified by any service provider for workforce development. As well as the framework itself, this document also looks at the context, background and wider issues. It also includes a self-assessment tool.
This document is our response to the Justice Select Committee’s consultation on the implications for access to justice of court and tribunal reforms. We focus particularly on the impact of these reforms for digitally excluded populations.
We share our research, which points to three main barriers that have a negative impact on digital access. These barriers are socio-economic (education, the cost of being online), communication (comprehension of English, including technical English) and psychological (apathy, trust).
We look in some detail at how these barriers may play out for different groups. These include people experiencing homelessness, people in prison, people with mental health problems, people with acquired brain injury and autism, and young people leaving care. We highlight the lack of consultation with people who have lived experience of the justice system.
As well as considering the journey of these groups in all courts, we also raise concerns. We are concerned that the court and tribunal reforms could widen the existing inequalities in our justice system for these groups.
This study of legal support gathers the perspectives of people in London with lived experience of the ‘revolving door’ of personal crisis and crime. We asked about their experiences of seeking assistance for cases that should be eligible for legal aid.
Legal aid cuts have meant that growing numbers of people struggle alone, managing multiple problems, navigating a complex justice system, and feeling ignored and abandoned. In our study, the 30 study participants experienced 173 civil legal problems in the last five years, but only sought legal support for 43. This means they did not seek legal support for at least three quarters of civil law cases - and the rate of accessing legal aid is even lower.
As a result of their experiences, many people in the revolving door feel let down by the legal profession and the justice system. Their lack of legal knowledge, social and digital exclusion, rejection for legal support and the knock-on contagious effect are significant barriers to accessing justice.
The Ministry of Justice has recently published its review of The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), along with a new strategy to deliver better support for people who experience legal problems. These recognise that more needs to be done to understand what works, when and for whom. The strategy focuses on early intervention to resolve problems before they escalate.
Aiming to place people at the heart of a new system for legal support, our briefing highlights ways of addressing the power imbalances. With greater legal education, early legal advice and legal aid, people in the revolving door could achieve equal justice in the capital and beyond.
Revolving Doors Agency launches a new paper showing the problems with short sentences.
This literature review investigates the prevalence and impact of loss and bereavement on individuals experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage. In the absence of protective factors such as affluence and social support, these experiences can shape people’s life chances and lead to the ‘revolving door’.
Our aim is to better understand the impact and prevalence of a wider range of losses in the lives of people facing multiple disadvantage. The impetus has been the insights that people with lived experience have shared. Although loss is an inevitable and universal experience, people facing multiple disadvantage experience loss at a disproportionate rate.
The review has three key themes - loss as a continuum, the prevalence of bereavement through death, and traumatic death as a unique loss. We also look at the effects of loss, and its implications for support and research.
We intend this to be an introduction to the literature on this topic. We hope it will contribute to sector understanding, inspire researchers to develop further evidence, and encourage policymakers and practitioners to develop more effective responses.
Our response to the Labour Party’s Justice and Home Affairs Commission looks at how to end the ‘revolving door ‘of crisis and crime. It has been informed by our research and policy expertise and an October 2018 consultation with people with recent lived experience of the criminal justice system.
The consultation considered how Labour’s manifesto could help end the revolving door of crisis and crime. It focused on two main questions:
- What we should do to prevent people entering the revolving door
- What we should do to support people so that they exit the revolving door.
Our response proposes a number of ideas in answer to these two questions.
To prevent people entering the revolving door, we should focus on its root causes - trauma, poverty and exposure to community violence. We should also support trauma- and poverty-informed criminal justice responses, divert people away from the criminal justice system and develop effective community sentences.
To provide support to help people exit the revolving door, we should improve probation support and ensure better support when people are released from prison.
This study reinforces the policy ambition in England and Wales for all women to have support so they can develop and drive their own birth plans. It confirms that women with complex social factors need additional support and care to participate fully in this process - to have input and make choices.
This qualitative peer research study carried out in north-east London reveals that women with multiple disadvantage often have a deep underlying fear and distrust of services. It is important to value and prioritise offering them support to help them understand the processes affecting their choices and be fully involved in decision-making.
The priority under Better Births to improve postnatal and perinatal mental health care is particularly critical to improving outcomes for women with multiple disadvantages. They are more likely to have existing mental ill-health and experience perinatal anxiety and depression but are less likely to access or be offered support.
Maternal suicide remains the leading cause of direct deaths during pregnancy, or up to a year after the end of it. Although effective work is taking place, services need to work at identifying issues earlier and offering support for longer to more women experiencing mental ill-health.
The need for personalised support and better mental health care is linked intrinsically with the importance of continuity of carer. Prioritising this approach with vulnerable women is likely to make the greatest impact on improving outcomes.
Evidence shows that women from BAME backgrounds are more likely to experience poorer outcomes and experiences of care. This report gives voice to women from BAME backgrounds, and their experience should be heard and addressed.
Overall, we make a number of recommendations for action:
- Map needs and develop structures to meet them
- Upskill the workforce
- Meet the particular needs of families at risk of separation
- Take further opportunities to develop this work.
It is clear that when compassionate, skilled midwives effectively identify women’s support needs and make swift referrals to the appropriate services, women and their babies experience much better outcomes. We hope that in response to this report’s findings, more women with multiple disadvantage and their babies will benefit from the best possible care.
This report shows the impact we have had in 2017-2018, underpinned by our sustainability in this third successive year of income growth and surplus. We have expanded our reach, touching the lives of more than 56,000 people in immediate crisis or trapped in the ‘revolving door’ cycle.
Our policy and influencing work has grown and we have achieved major policy wins. Our Short sighted campaign has already changed the national debate on ineffective, disruptive short sentences.
Our lived experience teams have changed the culture and made an impact on services. Peer support is now being piloted in the national Liaison and Diversion service.
We have supported 78 services in working with people to develop better services. We have also had an impact through social enterprise and developed opportunities for progression.
To mark our 25th Anniversary, we have launched new analysis showing the extent of the ‘revolving door’. The revolving door is not inevitable, and it is our goal to stop it by intervening at the critical stage of young adulthood.
Our definition of the revolving door is that it is:
- Characterised by repeated criminal justice contact - from police and courts to prisons and probation – for low level offences
- Driven by multiple problems including mental ill health, problematic substance use, domestic violence and abuse, and homelessness.
Over the past five years we have spoken to 2,500 people with lived experience of the revolving door. Their accounts paint a stark picture of the combined impact of trauma and poverty in their lives. And they echo the evidence.
The evidence shows that 60,000 cautions or convictions for minor offences were given last year to people who had offended 11 or more times before. The criminal justice system had missed 1,800,000 previous opportunities to take these people out of the revolving door. Young adulthood is the point at which people can enter the revolving door and is where the criminal justice system embeds existing disadvantage.
Individually and in combination, poverty, adverse childhood experiences and community violence are all critical – but they are not deterministic. Resilience makes a difference, and it can be built at different levels. This is our challenge.
In 2018, the Ministry of Justice conducted a consultation - 'Strengthening probation, building confidence' - to consider probation reform. Our response brought together our research and policy expertise with the input of people with recent lived experience of the criminal justice system.
We carried out interviews and focus groups to get the direct input of around 100 people with relevant lived experience in the last three years. As well as responding to the consultation’s 15 questions, we also made several recommendations:
- The government must require all probation contract providers to prove that they involve people with lived experience in designing and delivering their service.
- Peer support should be embedded in probation.
- The peer support model being rolled out across the country as part of national Liaison and Diversion services should be considered for adaptation for the probation services.
- The focus of probation contact should be on the quality and length of each appointment with the responsible officer, as much as on frequency.
- All unpaid work schemes should adhere to five principles - clear community connection, strength-based employment, incentives, holistic support and opportunities for employment.
- All probation services should become trauma informed.
- The government should introduce a presumption against the use of custodial sentences of less than six months.
This report shows the impact we have had in 2016-2017. We have expanded our reach and made notable impacts on policy, services and people. And this has been recognised – this year we were shortlisted for the prestigious Guardian Charity Awards and the Social Enterprise UK Awards.
This year’s highlights include:
- A national Liaison and Diversion service is now a reality
- The first ever NHS-commissioned peer support model for Liaison and Diversion has been trialled
- 98% of Police and Crime Commissioners now recognise multiple and complex needs
- The services we evaluated in 2016/17 to help them improve what they do have been accessed by over 1,000 clients.
This spotlight looks at substance misuse and shares emerging good practice across the UK. Strong evidence links deprivation, social inequalities and substance misuse-related harms. Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) have a vital role to play in improving life chances and reducing crime.
Through the Second Generation Project, we are working with PCCs to help them develop better service responses for people in the ‘revolving door’ of crisis and crime. Addressing health and social care needs can reduce criminal behaviours and improve community safety.
Substance use among people sentenced to prison is substantially higher than among the wider population. A high proportion of new entrants to community substance misuse treatment arrive via a criminal justice system route.
The complexity of substance misuse and its harms require effective local partnerships to improve life chances and reduce crime. PCCs can offer the vital strategic leadership to address substance misuse needs and reduce health inequalities in their area. They can use their convening powers to bring health agencies together to reduce reoffending by addressing health-related drivers of crime.
Our recent review of PCC police and crime plans showed that 9 out of 10 PCCs identify substance misuse as a problem in their area. However, only 3 out of 10 have set it as a priority. This spotlight on substance misuse demonstrates what is possible.
We bring together examples of good practice with a view to raising awareness about the link between substance misuse, associated health inequalities and crime. And we encourage PCCs to develop programmes that take a public health approach to tackling the root causes of crime.
We identify a number of key themes that emerge as being essential for good practice:
- Taking a public health approach to substance misuse
- Involving people with lived experience
- Adopting a whole-systems approach
- Offering women only provision
- Supporting families affected by substance misuse.
This briefing explains why we believe short prison sentences should be reduced in favour of a smarter approach. The public and the evidence are clear and in agreement that short prison sentences are short-sighted. They are ineffective at tackling petty crime, and we can do better.
Currently 30,000 people each year go to prison on sentences of less than six months – that is half of all people sent to prison. The majority of people serving sentences of less than six months are in prison for non-violent offences. Many of these are linked to underlying problems such as poverty, addiction, homelessness and poor mental health.
Evidence shows that short prison sentences are less effective at reducing reoffending than community sentences. The government should introduce a presumption against the use of short custodial sentences of less than six months.
Community sentences must also be strengthened so that they command public confidence. They need to deal effectively with some of the underlying causes of persistent, petty offending, including drug or alcohol misuse and mental health.
However, there is no value in continuing with the failed policy of short sentences while we wait. As a start, we want to see the least harmful and least serious theft or drug offences dealt with differently.
This spotlight looks at how Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are tackling violence against women and girls. Most police and crime plans identify this as a key vulnerability and need, but only a third have made it a strategic priority. We share emerging good practice across the UK.
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) covers a range of serious crimes. These require robust, multi-agency approaches that recognise the underlying causes - specific gender inequalities, racial and ethnic discrimination and social exclusion. National and local strategies to tackle VAWG need to address patterns of abuse rather than single incidents of violence.
We welcome subsequent governments’ prioritisation of VAWG in their crime prevention and harm reduction strategies. However, we are still far from realising the ambition to end violence against women and girls. Police and Crime Commissioners have an important role to play in realising the ambitions of national policy and legislative changes in their areas.
This Spotlight briefing brings together examples of PCCs demonstrating the necessary leadership and political will to bring about real change. Using their powers to convene a range of public services and third sector organisations, they are improving service responses for women and girls. They are working with community and voluntary sector organisations and working across disciplines to establish a shared commitment to prevent and tackle VAWG.
Our review looked at how PCCs across the country are tackling VAWG, strengthening service provision and using the convening and commissioning powers of their roles. We identified several key themes as being essential for good practice:
- Prevention and early identification
- Early intervention and diversion
- Community capacity building
- Deterrence to address repeat victimisation
- Provision of intensive specialist support.