Collaborating to Modernise the Criminal Justice System

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Collaborating to Modernise the Criminal Justice System

The private sector has a key role to play in modernising criminal justice systems. Using levers such as the Social Value Act, companies can introduce innovations and invest in solutions that their justice partners may struggle to, given financial and resource limitations. 

For example, a Tier 1 construction firm has recently invested in a new digital innovation on behalf of one of their prison clients. Despite significant interest from numerous prison governors, financial commitments have been difficult to make due to procurement rules and timing within budget cycles.

The ENHANCE Programme uses software that has been proven to improve self control, mental health and agency, all of which are key requirements for desistance and successful reintegration into society. 

Expertise from the private sector has also helped tailor the programme to meet bespoke needs of the prison population. Rather than using laptops or mobile devices, prisoners will complete the programme using a purpose built training pod that will improve motivation and avoid access issues.

This is an excellent example of using the Social Value Act to support public service delivery. A combination of financial and technical support has accelerated the adoption of a new tool that addresses a variety of chronic challenges facing our prison and probation service.

Another example of this is a digital consulting firm and strategic supplier to Government, who has provided pro bono support to develop Evolve’s diagnosis and impact monitoring software.

The Evolve Development Tracker is used by schools to identify their pupils who are most in need of additional support in terms of their wellbeing, mindset and school performance. Youth Offending Teams are acutely aware of the direct links between absenteeism, mental health, SENDs, exclusion, and the pathway into criminality. Being able to correctly target children and young people for early intervention programmes is a model of Precision Justice that should be expanded to ease pressures on policing, prison and probation services.

This partnership between private, public and third sectors produces outcomes that are also shared by stakeholders outside the justice sector, including education, health and employment. This has attracted interest from other companies who are providing both financial and networking support to introduce the innovation to key stakeholders in other local authority areas.

Successful collaborations, like those outlined above, have intended outcomes that are shared by all partners. There is also a collective interest in sustaining programmes beyond initial pilots and their introduction to a new customer. 

With political change and economic challenge, it is important that these shared endeavours have genuine impact and leave a lasting legacy. Box ticking and lip service should become remnants of a more careless era to help modernise our justice system and the delivery of other public services.

John Bishop will be talking more about these topics at the Modernising Justice Conference on Thursday 6th June 2024 at the QEII Centre, London.

Thoughts on the topic from other conference speakers can be found at