Overview of 2017-2018

2017/18 was an extremely challenging year financially with restructure of staff in preparation for reduced budgets in 18/19 and bidding for central and other funds proving more and more difficult and heavily competed. Traditional funders are under enormous pressure. However, we have continued to sustain our four programme and competed successfully for a new programme – Victims’ First Emotional Support Service which commenced in April 2018.

Highlights and achievements:
Quality Marks:  This year saw us renew 3 quality marks – Approved Provider Standard for our New Leaf project, Restorative Service Quality Mark, Secured by Design for TecSOS and a new quality mark, the TPQM (Training Provider Quality Mark) from the Restorative Justice Council for the quality delivery of our training in Restorative Justice

Extension/renewal of Contracts with OPCC and CRC have been agreed with 12 month extensions and a small uplift for our CRC contract for 18/19. For next year there will be a jointly commissioned approach to our RJ work between the CRC and the OPCC who have signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

We retained our core funder, Thames Valley Police for another year.

New Leaf was cited as one of only three examples of good practice in an otherwise fairly bleak National report An Inspection of Through the Gate Resettlement Services for Prisoners Serving 12 Months or More published by HM Inspectorate of Prisons in June 2017. We were delighted to be able to hold an event ‘Meeting the Need’, on the 17th October 2017 at the House of Lords to showcase the work of New Leaf and the OOTBox social enterprise. The event, which was well attended by service users, volunteers, strategic leads from within the criminal justice sector, as well as key ministers and dignitaries, highlighted the needs of individuals on their release from prison whilst they aim to resettle back into the community. The event was hosted by Lord Blair and included Terry Waite as one of the keynote speakers.

Thames Valley Restorative Justice Service (TVRJS) continued to deliver three well-established sister projects; victim-initiated RJ funded by the OPCC, offender-initiated RJ funded by the CRC and prison-based RJ funded through the Prison Service. Our innovative work at HMP Bullingdon which has introduced restorative approaches into the prison adjudication system and has trained prisoners in RJ to fulfil a violence reduction role on their wings, won an award, the Chris Donavon Award in June. The award recognised the innovative nature of this project at a time when prison numbers, violence, self-harm and suicide are on the increase. TVRJS has been restructured this year to take account of the reduced budgets for 18/19 and sadly some staff were made redundant.

TecSOS has continued to grow steadily in terms of its reach into Police Areas nationally; 42 forces have now signed up to TecSOS. Over 14,008 victims have been supported through the device to date and there have been 1915 activations during the lifetime of the project. A major area for development in 2017/18 has been the new iteration of TecSOS, TecSOS 3 which has developed a suite of devices/app to support a variety of victim needs including those still living with their perpetrator. The Bright Sky App developed with Hestia went live in December and is being hailed as a step change preventive/informative tool for victims of domestic abuse.

HMI of Probation Inspection of Probation Supply Chain. HMI visited the Thames Valley CRC in November and we were interviewed as part of their supply chain delivery. The subsequent report Her Majesty’s Inspector of Probation (HMI) inspection of Probation Supply Chains can be accessed here  page 30 as follows:

There were few unusual or niche services identified that were addressing more-specialist needs or delivering innovative practice. The strongest example was Thames Valley Partnership’s ‘facilitating restorative justice conferencing’ service. This provider was a well-regarded and established organisation, undertaking difficult and delicate work in complex cases. It had a history of working with probation services over many years. Its delivery model and the extent of its provision had been altered, not necessarily for the better, because of its contractual terms with the CRC, and these were set to change further. Within the cases we inspected, its management oversight, commitment to staff training and delivery of restorative justice were of a high standard.”

Family Approaches Programme continued the delivery of court based services and referrals continued to grow this year. The Court desk service remains well-used and provides an important crisis intervention service for prisoners’ families. Funding the programme was extremely challenging this year but we managed to continue to sustain the work with some promise for 18/19.

A Strategic Review was undertaken and a report presented to the Board in March 2018. It was undertaken in the light of a challenging financial position for our core funding and the main recommendation was that we seek new business and explore closer collaborations with partner organisations.


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