Abstracts: March 10th, 2008

Voluntary and community organisations are set to play a major role inthe government’s “Strategy for Protecting the Public and Reducing Reoffending” as the third sector delivery of public services gathers momentum. The Change Up Public Service Priority Programme included five pilot projects commissioned by the National Offender Management Service to test out approaches to building the capacity of the voluntary and community sector to allow fuller participation in delivering offender services.

The pilots revealed a range of measures that can help build the capacity of organisations. Networking with agencies already providing services to offenders gave insights into challenges of delivering contracts and the complexities of liaising with the commissioning body.

Attention was focused on the wide range of skills needed to deliver offender services and the pilots demonstrated how skills could be developed by engaging with a wide range of stakeholders with specialist knowledge.

Some organizations reported gaining little benefit from their involvement, with expectations not being met. There was also a degree of frustration that few offender services had been commission so far.

The key learning points from the evaluation of the projects will be used to inform the new the Third Sector Action Plan which is to be developed in April 2008.

The report is available from NOMS.