Monday, 26 March 2012

Qualitative study of offender employment review: final report

a report by Del Roy Fletcher, John Flint, Tony Gore, Ryan Powell, Elaine Batty and Richard Crisp (CEntre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University) on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions Ref: RR784

In 2009, the Permanent Secretaries of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Ministry of Justice (MOJ) commissioned a joint strategic review of offender employment services. The aim was to improve such support by conducting a strategic review of current services offered by DWP and MOJ and implementing improvements to make services more coherent and effective without increasing existing resources. The recommendations of the review were announced in March 2010.

DWP commissioned the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University to undertake a qualitative study of offender employment services, with a specific focus on the progress made with the implementation of the recommendations of the joint review. The objectives of the study were to:
  • identify how well the recommendations of the review have been implemented;
  • identify the extent to which the changes implemented have contributed to improved offender employment services;
  • establish what further reforms should be developed to maximise the employment outcomes for offenders;
  • assist in developing future policy for the offender group; and
  • consider the role of drug treatment services in the offender employment journey.
The study was conducted across four case study areas covering England and Wales in both custodial and community settings. In terms of the former, the study team has visited twelve prisons and young offender institutions. The research involved conducting 131 in-depth semi-structured interviews with policy leads, practitioners and offenders. This has included policy leads in DWP, Jobcentre Plus, MOJ and National Offender Management Service (NOMS); Scottish policy leads; Employment and Benefit Advisers (EBAs) and Prison Resettlement staff; Jobcentre Plus staff; Probation Service staff; prisoners; offenders in the community and representatives from crime reduction charities.

This report presents the main findings emanating from the study. It identifies how well key recommendations have been implemented ‘on the ground’ in both case study prisons and the community; and assesses the extent to which changes have begun to improve offender employment services. It concludes with a series of recommendations to help further strengthen such services.

Full text (PDF 65pp) ISBN: 9-781-90852-342-6

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