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Reducing re-offending in London (Archived)

Clinks commissioned Inclusion to review work being undertaken to reduce re-offending by organisations other than criminal justice agencies in selected London boroughs.

Local authorities and voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations are increasingly influential partners in the provision of services designed to reduce re-offending. Previous work undertaken by Clinks suggests they are not yet achieving their full potential and that this is often due to awareness and communications issues that can act as barriers to progress if not addressed.

This review set out to look in detail at how local authorities and VCS organisations are contributing to work with offenders at a local level. Its purpose was to increase knowledge and understanding, to identify any common barriers to effective engagement and to propose ways of addressing them in order to increase effectiveness in the future.

A sample of seven London boroughs was selected: Brent, Hackney, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets. They were chosen with reference to the London Borough Offender Profile Report1 and represent a range of boroughs with high annual numbers of people received into prison and subject to probation supervision. This review is not intended in any way as a comparative evaluation of these boroughs. They were selected because of the complex challenges they face and the range of reducing re-offending activity taking place within them.

One of the boroughs, Tower Hamlets, runs a local authority-led reducing re-offending programme targeted at short sentenced prisoners and people on remand. The programme aims to work with all people from the borough in these target groups. It commissions services from VCS organisations across all the pathway2 areas, as well as additional specialist services addressing other local priorities. Inclusion has recently evaluated this programme and relevant findings are referenced as a case study.

This review includes an analysis of literature and interviews with key local partners to assess activity by local authorities and non criminal justice agencies in order to:

  • consider how local authorities are already supporting or could support this agenda
  • scope the range of reducing re-offending activity being undertaken in the boroughs by VCS organisations
  • identify the barriers and opportunities for working in those boroughs.

Published July 2010