Yesterday (11 March 2021) Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service relaunched its New Futures Network website. NFN is a specialist part of HMPPS which brokers partnerships between prisons and employers in England and Wales. These partnerships help businesses fill skills gaps and prison leavers find employment. Although NFN has been around for some years, the new website (designed by PinkUmbrella Studios) provides me with an excuse to re-visit the organisation.
You don’t need to be a criminal justice professional to know that getting a job is a key component of the journey for anyone moving away from a life of crime. There is an established evidence base that finding work is a key component for people succeeding in desisting from crime. There are four key reasons why employment promotes desistance:
- An individual can fill their time constructively and become economically independent.
- Employment facilitates reintegration into the wider society by helping individuals to move away from criminal networks and develop social relationships with a wide range of people.
- Being in paid employment enhances individuals’ self-esteem and helps them to build a renewed and positive sense of self, which helps to protect against a return to crime.
- The status of being an employed person acts as an important symbol to the individual of their ability to return successfully to a conventional life.
The NFN model
NFN works with businesses across many different industry sectors with a wide range of specialists based across England and Wales who provide a range of services to businesses who need to widen their pool of recruits and wish to discharge their corporate responsibility by employing people with criminal convictions:
NFN offers a range of resources to interested employers. It knows that many businesses are nervous about employing people with convictions and knows that one of the ways to build confidence is for them to learn from other businesses which have led the way. NFN also provides information about the numerous organisations supporting serving prisoners and prison leavers, including a wide range of charities. NFN is committed to building links with these organisations and linking businesses up with organisations that can help.
NFN promotes the Employers Forum for Reducing Re-Offending (EFFRR), a HMPPS-led initiative chaired by Greggs Retail and People Operations Director, Roisin Currie. It is a collective of local and national employers that provide training and employment opportunities for offenders, including Cisco, Timpsons and Marks & Spencer.
EFFRR members receive invitations to local networking events, access to a private members website and receipt of a quarterly newsletter. Members and stakeholders promote the growth and development of the group to provide even more support and opportunities to offenders to find meaningful employment and social inclusion.
It also provides links to a wide range of organisations with expertise in the offender employment sector. You can find my own, rather longer, list of such organisations here.
Thanks to Andy Aitchison for kind permission to use the image in this post. You can see Andy’s work here.