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HMPPS CFO employment intervention cuts reoffending
Justice Data Lab finds that HMPPS CFO employment intervention cuts reoffending by 8 percentage points for men when delivered in the community.

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Creating Future Opportunities

Last week (25 April 2024), the MoJ Justice Data Lab published its analysis of the impact of HMPPS Creating Future Opportunities (CFO) employment programme on reoffending. The analysis found that the intervention did reduce reoffending for both men and women, although interestingly, only when the intervention was delivered in the community or through-the-gate. Prison only based interventions were not successful in reducing reoffending.

The programme

The CFO service (which is delivered by third party providers) operates in prison and the community, to help offenders access mainstream services, with the aim of gaining skills and employment and the intention to reduce reoffending. The provision takes place in both prison and the community in England, with a number receiving support ‘through the gate’. Entry to the programme is voluntary and participants self-refer or are targeted by the providers, with the only conditions being that participants must not be in employment, eligible to work in the UK and within the last three years of their sentence if in custody. 

This is the official HMPPS description of the intervention:

The CFO intervention model used was based on one-to-one case management. The case manager assessed and enrolled the participant, then set up objectives and action plans based on the individual needs identified in the assessment. The activity with the participant was set along a specific pathway, where core activity was prominent throughout the participant’s time on the programme. This core activity took place as and when it was required by the participant and included: motivation, financial advice, disclosure advice, CVs and Industry Specific Cards and certificates such as Health and Safety, Construction Site Certification Scheme (CSCS).

At the start of the pathway, the case manager provides specialist support referrals (and ensures attendance), mentoring and/or work placements. This is followed by up-skilling the participants with training, educational and/or vocational courses and/or voluntary employment. Finally, the case manager brokers a job interview and employment for the participant. Once the participant is in employment, the case worker ceases to work with the participant.


The Justice Data Lab measures proven reoffending over a one year period by matching the people receiving the intervention with a much larger cohort of people who do not. It measures three specific reoffending outcomes:

  • Reoffending – a straightforward binary measure of whether someone commits any proven reoffence in a one year period after receiving support from CFO 
  • Frequency – the number of reoffences committed within that one year period
  • Delay – the number of days until a first re-offence is committed.

Below I have reproduced the tables from the report for each of these three measures which separate men from women and interventions in the community, in prison and Through the Gate (TTG).


As you can see CFO interventions in the community are much more effective for both men and women. While it is no surprise that employment interventions are an important component in helping people move away from a life of crime, these results are particularly important at the moment.

This is because CFO is currently the only national employment intervention available to people on probation and in prison with HMPPS having (inexplicably) ceased funding for employment support via the Commissioned Rehabilitation Services contracts for the current financial year. My work in this area suggests that many probation practitioners have a higher opinion of the CRS service, particularly for those people who are not already “work ready”.


Thanks to Andy Aitchison for kind permission to use the header image in this post. You can see Andy’s work here

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