Catch22 is a national charity and social business that designs and delivers public services that build resilience and aspiration. Our 1,800 staff and volunteers work at every stage of the social welfare cycle, supporting 128 communities across the UK.
Today, Catch22 works across 23 prisons and youth offending institutes across the UK, working with over 50,000 people in the justice system: prisoners, people on probation and victims of crime. We are a Tier 2 provider of offender management, resettlement and specialist support services in public and private prisons including HMP/ YOI Feltham, HMP Doncaster, HMP Leeds, HMP Thameside, HMP Isis and in the community. We deliver Transforming Rehabilitation through three Community Rehabilitation Companies.
Because Catch22 also provides children’s social care, alternative provision education, apprenticeships and routes to employment, our work in prison and probation is informed by our understanding of the whole system: the barriers to rehabilitation and the opportunities to intervene early.
We work hard to be innovative, and our programmes win awards. We care about giving people with convictions a better future, but also supporting victims, alongside Police and Crime Commissioners in areas including London, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Hertfordshire.
Our vision is a strong society where everyone has a good place to live, a purpose and good people around them. As an organisation our principal aim is to help reform public services so that everyone can achieve these things.
Using our experience of delivering public services, including our work in Transforming Rehabilitation, we have defined three guiding principles for good public services, explained here in the context of probation delivery:
- Being more human. Building services around people, moving away from bewildering bureaucracy and transactional systems where the focus is on paperwork over people.
- Unlocking capacity. Individuals and communities have potential that can be identified and enhanced through volunteering, transparency and openness of statutory systems and philanthropic funding. There are countless rehabilitative charities delivering excellent services and measurable outcomes. Effective public services are a partnership between statutory services, charities, communities and individuals. Effective commissioning enables each part of society to do what it does best; for charities, this is focusing on the needs of an individual, building relationships and delivering outcomes that work for communities.
- Local accountability through different governance models. Probation services must be accountable and integrated in the communities they serve. This must be driven by local commissioning and devolved budget management, to Prison Governors, Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC), level or below.
- We must incentivise seamless Through the Gate services: horizontal, high quality, relational, community-owned and delivered. Radical transparency of budgets, performance and impact is one way to achieve this.
- Procurement needs to be enabling: less rigid and risk averse, inviting innovation and the right sort of risk.
- Ensure that the voluntary sector (VCS) and SMEs are not excluded for technocratic non-compliance, or a central misunderstanding of what risk entails. We must assign risk to the people with the most direct accountability and control over that risk: compliance to Whitehall, safety and security to the frontline.
- Consider small regional TR2 pilots to test new approaches and justice reinvestment, inviting local partners, PCCs and VCS.
- Contracts and bidding processes needs to reflect true cost and value (including social and future cost), to avoid unachievable payment mechanisms – we must learn the lessons of Carillion.
- We must seek to re-invest incarceration costs earlier to provide more positive and lasting outcomes; the cost of a prison place, invested earlier in the process, will deliver significantly more public value.
- We must measure the right thing. We often measure rates of reoffending, but this by itself is not enough. Let’s measure what matters; whether people have a good place to live, good people around them, and a purpose; a long term job or education. Let’s begin to measure a reduction in needs, a move out of crisis to stability for both individuals and the system. By measuring how well we’re tackling the underlying causes of offending, we’ll positively impact on the rates of reoffending.