Working with the Ministry of Justice to help people on probation move forward

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Since we began delivery of the Education, Training and Employment (ETE) programme in London, Wales, West Midlands, and the North West in 2021, we have reached some significant milestones in our work to move people on probation closer to employment.  

Nearly 8,000 people have joined the programme, of whom more than 4,000 have entered formal education, started a training course, or found employment. To date, more than 1,000 have entered work. 

And while these milestones are very positive, they perhaps don’t present a complete picture of the work we do with offenders and our constant efforts to improve delivery of ETE.  

The first step is getting individuals to engage, which can be both challenging and critical for success. We utilise our business support centre to contact individuals, who set out the benefits of engaging with us, and go the extra distance to set up initial appointments with our Employment Advisors. This oftens entails multi-channel communication through a variety of mediums, with more than 60,000 calls, texts, emails and letters sent over the course of a year, as well as liaising with the individual’s Probation Practitioner to facilitate appointments.   

This work is crucial as 73% of people who attend an initial appointment with us will join the programme and progress to achieve a positive outcome. 

Many of the people referred to us have complex and chaotic personal lives, often with limited formal education. They begin their journey with significant barriers which must be tackled before they can consider starting a course or applying for work. So, many of our early interventions with an individual aim to build motivation and develop their strengths, to show them they can succeed with our help. 

We also provide these participants with a package of support to address immediate requirements, including help with accommodation, mental health issues and other barriers to moving into training or work.  

Continuous innovation 

Our success in delivering ETE comes from a willingness to try new approaches in pursuit of engagement, and we are now exploring ways to deliver an enhanced service.  

Recognising the importance of supporting offenders at the time of their release, we are now starting to run pilot programmes with HMP Berwyn, HMP Kirkham and HMP Pentonville in partnership with His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service – providing early interventions for prison leavers with the aim of supporting people into employment early on release and reducing recall to prison at a critical juncture.  

We are already seeing excellent outcomes when applying a holistic approach, for instance working with family members and partners to establish a network of support for the individual on release, who, in many cases, lack the confidence, self-esteem or skills to adjust to life outside of prison. 

The approach leverages insight from within Maximus including behavioural science, helping us to develop psychologically informed evidence-based models to deliver these enhanced services, especially with regards to mental health and wellbeing services. 

We will continue to draw on insights from the wider business to introduce new interventions and services within our Justice work, including leveraging our contact centre capability to offer advice and guidance.  

Working with partner organisations, offenders and their families, and the Prison and Probation Service, we continue to innovate in the justice sector – with the ultimate aim of reducing reoffending, transforming lives and helping to build safer, healthier communities. 

11 May, 2023