The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), established to help ex-Service men and women make a successful transition back to civilian life, has awarded a grant of £93,400 to the Probation Institute to fund a project aimed at meeting the needs and providing effective services for veterans serving criminal sentences in the community.
A core role of the probation service is to manage the transition of those serving criminal sentences in confinement, back in to society. This is done through working with the offender and partner agencies in a supervised environment, to meet their needs in order to reduce the chance of them reoffending.
There is currently no national mechanism to share knowledge on effective practice and information from locally run probation projects. There is also limited research and evaluation available into how the probation services are working to meet the needs of ex-Service personnel serving community sentences.
The project, which will be carried out in three stages over three years, will examine in detail the impact of the probation services provided to offending ex-Service personnel as well as establish a network between service deliverers in order to promote knowledge-sharing and improvements in service delivery. The project aims to:
- Build and disseminate an evidence base for the needs of those offending ex-Service personnel who are currently under probation supervision and the effectiveness of probation services currently in place for them;
- Facilitate the exchange of knowledge and best practise across different organisations who that work with ex-Service personnel serving sentences;
- Involve the ex-service personnel and practitioners in evaluating the effectiveness of community justice work with the veteran cohort, and encourage professional development and enhancement of services in this area
The implementation of this project comes just a few months after extensive changes to the probation service were announced by the government in October 2014; with 35 trusts replaced by 21 private companies competing for contracts.
Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust said: “Funding a project of this type adds to the growing evidence-base in this sector and complements other research we have funded in this field; Project Nova which works with Veterans in Police Custody, and the Victor Project which works ex-Service ex-offenders, aiming to break the cycle of offending and enabling successful transition.”
Dr Savas Hadjipavlou, interim Chief Executive of the Probation Institute said: “We are delighted to lead this important project. Ex service personnel being supervised in the community need more specific support in some areas and this project will help ensure that probation professionals and probation service providers are able better to tailor their interventions, improving the chances of successful rehabilitation.”
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- About the Forces in Mind Trust: The Forces in Mind Trust came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (BIG), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations. FiMT continues BIG’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012. Since 2004 BIG has given more than £88 million to programmes supporting veterans. http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.
- During its first two years, FiMT has commissioned seminal research reports such as the Transition Mapping Study (TMS), which reviewed how the entire transition process from military to civilian life currently works and how it is viewed by stakeholders and recent Service leavers. The economic model developed for the report calculated the total cost of poor transition to the UK as a whole to be £113 million in 2012, whilst the report itself has been discussed across Whitehall and debated in the House of Lords.
- Project Nova is a partnership which involves the Regular Forces Employment Association, Walking with the Wounded, and Norfolk and Suffolk Police Forces working together to support Veterans who have entered Police Custody. The project is an 18-month trial which will provide advice, guidance and support to Veterans in Norfolk and Suffolk using a network of military charities and organisations who can assist Veterans depending on their individual needs. Project Nova will be underpinned by an academic evaluation carried out by Anglia Ruskin University.
- The Victor Project is a partnership between two charities; Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), Blue Sky and Medway Council with funding from the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and the Rank Foundation. The project has been operating for almost 3 years and has helped many veterans with training and work placements.
- Useful links
- About the Probation Institute: The Probation Institute is an independent centre of excellence and a professional home for all those involved in probation work across the public, voluntary and private sectors, and was launched by Lord Neuberger in March 2014. We support effective services, promote evidence-based policy and practice and the professional development of our members and explain the work of probation to the media, parliamentarians and the public.
- All members are required to sign up to the Code of Ethics as a condition of membership. http://probation-institute.org/code-ethics/
- The Institute is currently developing a professional register, which will enable probation practitioners to have their qualifications, knowledge and skills recognised and will act as a framework for continuing professional development.