Message from the chief executive officer
“Here at HLNY 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 Humberside, Lincolnshire & North Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company’s (HLNY 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 HLNY 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 Andrew Harrington, a service user who has recently completed his sentence and has trained a Peer Mentor in Scunthorpe and will go onto support other service users in their rehabilitation.
As usual we feature an update on a couple of Community Payback projects in Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire, including our work in Cleethorpes which has drawn praise from residents and our recent work in the restoration of a community allotment in York.
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
Update on sobriety tags
In June HLNY CRC launched a pilot in the region to reduce alcohol-related offences funded by the regions’ Police & Crime Commissioners.
The pilot in Boston, Grimsby, Louth, Skegness, Spalding and York uses alcohol monitoring technology, also known as ‘sobriety tags’, to tackle alcohol misuse and associated offending.
In Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire it is estimated that alcohol plays a part in 25 per cent of all offences reported and the figures are even worse in domestic abuse cases involving alcohol at more than 40 per cent.
A number of service users have now been issued with Alcohol Abstinence Monitoring Requirement (AAMR) as part of a community sentence or suspended sentence order imposed on offenders who committed crimes while under the influence of alcohol.
We are pleased to note that the AAMR pilot is already having a positive impact on service users’ and while it is to early too deem the project a success the data is looking very positive.
Offenders are screened before being tagged to make sure that the tags are not used on people who are alcohol-dependent or have certain medical conditions.
If we succeed, we will reduce the victims of crime in the future, particularly victims of domestic abuse. The period in which the offender is tagged will give rehabilitation agencies a real opportunity to work with the offender and get them to recognise and change their behaviour, hopefully for good.
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: HLNY committed to excellence
HLNY 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 HLNY 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.”
Residents grateful as service users clear fly-tipping
An elderly Cleethorpes resident has praised a group of “polite” offenders for clearing the alleyway at the back of her property that has been plagued by fly-tipping.
Marie Cuerton, 83, of Lovett Street, had been frustrated over the large build up of rubbish fly-tipped in the alleyway behind her house, and had been hoping that something could be done in order to have it removed.
This gave her son Mark Cuerton, the idea of nominating the alleyway as a project that could be undertaken as part of the Community Payback project, and has been thrilled with the response as a group of young men turned up to the alleyway today, completely clearing it in just a few hours.
Ms Cuerton, who has lived at the property for over 50 years, says that she can remember the days when the alleyways and passages around the town used to be kept spotless, and were used as a place for children to play and neighbours to socialise.
However recently, as the homes are used more and more by people renting, she feels that people have lost care and pride in the alleyways, using them as a dumping ground.
However, once the group taking part in Community Payback showed up she was impressed by how hardworking and helpful the group of men had been, completely clearing the alley in just a couple of hours.
“They were all very well behaved, and I didn’t hear an ounce of backchat from them to their supervisor, they were great. They spent all morning clearing out the rubbish, and even lifted up all of the weeds and grass that had started to form, and I would just like to say thank you to them all.”
Offenders praised for work on allotment
Allotment owners in York have praised offenders working on a Community Payback project to help refurbish the gardens on a key community facility in Heworth. Hempland Lane Allotments Society recently requested the help of HLNY CRC to carry out a Community Payback project on the allotments.
Offenders, spent several weekends at the allotments working to clear the site of undergrowth, tidying up un-used plots, so they can be re-let and management of the community wildlife area.
They also helped clear out the allotment’s ‘easy-access’ bed area for tenants who cannot physically under take the work themselves and community vegetable plots which supplies food to the society’s shop.
Gayle Farrington, Hempland Lane Allotments Society chair, said: “The payback team did a fantastic job. So much so that when I entered the site to say thank you I just welled up with relief and happiness.
“The team then realised how much this meant to us and suddenly grown men were wiping tears from their eyes too. They arrived feeling they were being punished and they left feeling tired but with a sense of pride in what they had achieved.
“Their work is a great example of how offenders can put something back into the community while learning important life skills. Our tenants have been full of praise for the work they did.”
Kirstie: ‘If my story and my role as peer mentor can help just one person, then I know I’ve done a good job’
Kirstie was sentenced to a 12-month community order and driving ban. Since then she has progressed well through her probation and now works as a peer mentor helping other through their induction and rehabilitation. Kirstie tells her full story here:
“At my first visit court hearing I was so scared. My two eldest daughters came with me because we all believed I’d be going to prison. We wanted to spend our last moments together. When it was adjourned to gather more evidence, the relief we all felt was unbelievable. We had another three weeks together as a family.
“When my second hearing came around, I was even more scared, especially when my own solicitor told me to expect the worst (ie prison). It was only towards the end of this second hearing, after the judge had bamboozled me with his words, my solicitor turned around to me with thumbs up.
“I suddenly comprehended how lucky I had been. Fair enough, I was still a convicted criminal, which was because of one stupid act. I’d lost my licence, my car and my job but I still had my relative freedom. I was not going to prison.
“All my appointments for probation were at Together Women Project, and obviously before my first appointment, I was nervous. I Just didn’t know what to expect. Would they just be judging me all the time, looking down their noses at me?
“I never expected my case workers to rock up in jeans and T-shirts with facial piercings and shaved hair! It immediately put me at ease. They were normal people! Who was judging who now eh?
“At first, I had weekly appointments, both at TWP and RENEW. These soon went to fortnightly, then once my 6-month ATR was over, my TWP appointments were monthly. I got so much help and support along the way. My confidence and self-esteem definitely improved.
“Looking back to when I was first sentenced, I was feeling really low and suffering with panic attacks and anxiety. I’m not going to lie. There was some faltering in the beginning, but once I got it into my head there was no point in lying about or covering up my problems, I managed much better. I was only really lying to myself.
“When I was first asked if I wanted to be a peer mentor, I still had around two to three months of my community order left. It felt good to know that despite everything, I could still be valued for being me and my experience as an ex-service user would actually be put to good use instead of acting against me.
“So in November 2017, I started attending the weekly group induction sessions shadowing Hull staff. The first few weeks I just sat in and observed staff, chipping in every now and then, but very much in the background.
“Then just before one session was due to start, a situation arose where I ended up volunteering to deliver the group induction power point. That first time ‘solo’ was another turning point for me. It finally made me realise my confidence had returned for good and I could achieve so many things I thought I’d lost in the preceding years.
“As my mum put it, the old Kirst was back.
“Since starting on the peer mentor programme, I’ve had one minor blip, where my panic attacks returned. I quickly got to grips with this, partly down to the continued support from my peer mentor coordinator. She is fab and has a genuine enthusiasm for everything she does.
“I’m just so glad I can give something back to help to support current service users. My main piece of advice I always share to service users, is to be completely honest with your case manager. They will not judge but will only help. Don’t waste any of your time on your order lying to yourself like I did.
“Whilst every peer mentor and service user I meet has a different story and background to me, we all have one bond thing in common. If my story and my role as peer mentor can help just one person, then I know I’ve done a good job. I would love it if something full time came of this but for now I feel extremely happy and fulfilled in my role.”