Catch22 works with some of the most vulnerable people in society. We help build resilience and aspiration in people to help them lead fulfilling lives for themselves and their communities.
We work in justice, education, employability and with children, young people and families – and our approach is based on the ‘3Ps’. We believe everyone can thrive if they have good people around them, a purpose in life, and a safe place to live.
The ‘3Ps’ provide a platform for joined up policy making. We want to see all political parties, in the run up to the 2024 general election and beyond, commit to policies that ensure everyone in society has good people around them, a safe place to live and a purpose in life.
Our manifesto outlines “22 ways to build resilience and aspiration in people and communities” across five key areas:
Renew focus on adolescents
Too often media stories about drug taking, gangs or anti-social behaviour, depict adolescents as criminals. This ‘adultification’ bias fails to understand the environment in which many of our adolescents grow up: one fraught with risks – from online harms to County Lines exploitation, through to knife crime and harmful trends such as vaping.
Young victims of exploitation and those displaying risky behaviours are rarely the focus of policymakers. We want to change that. We believe that through well thought out policies, adolescents can be better protected from harm and supported to thrive.
We want to see the next Government commit to making the UK a safe place to grow up – and one where adolescents are able to build resilience and aspiration that will remain with them for life.
1. Implement a national strategy to tackle Child Criminal Exploitation, including County Lines.
2. Commit to tackling online harms as a priority, enacting with urgency the legislative changes that will come out of the Online Safety Bill.
3. Invest further in the presence of youth workers in communities, to ensure the impact of the National Youth Guarantee is sustained beyond 2025.
4. Mandate training for all professionals working within education settings on how to intervene, address and support young people impacted by ‘gang’ affiliation, ‘serious youth violence’ and knife crime.
5. Ensure School Exclusion Panels consult with local experts on child exploitation, ‘gangs’ and ‘serious youth violence’ before making an exclusion decision.
6. Introduce measures that prevent vaping products being marketed to young people, such as plain packaging and banning sports sponsorship.
Ensure job opportunities are open to all
The world of work is changing rapidly. Sectors such as green jobs, digital and tech and health and social care are growing significantly and AI is creating both opportunities and challenges to the nature and type of work available. With a wealth of pathways to enter the labour market – from bootcamps and apprenticeships to employability and sector-specific training programmes – there is plenty of opportunity.
Yet for the millions of people facing barriers to work, be that poor physical or mental health, low educational attainment, caring responsibilities or other challenges, those opportunities are often limited. Accessing training pathways and securing a ‘good’ job can be hindered by a lack of available guidance, limited flexibility within the system or simply through a lack of confidence.
We want to see the next Government commit to supporting every person to secure a good job and access the training they require to ensure they’re skilled for the future world of work.
7. Introduce an Opportunity Guarantee for young people, to ensure all young people have the opportunity of an education place, apprenticeship or job, no matter what their background.
8. Increase the apprenticeship minimum wage to the living wage to improve take up, especially for those from underserved communities.
9. Increase flexibility in the apprenticeship levy so that it can be spent on pre-apprenticeship training.
10. Consult on an ‘AI for good’ strategy to help build a diverse workforce, eliminate bias in hiring processes and open up job opportunities to all.
11. Revolutionise Job Centre Plus so that, alongside other employment related services, they become a place where people are supported into careers rather than placed into ‘any job.’
Invest in the skills of the future
As the UK continues to embrace new technologies and drive forward the digital revolution, millions of people are experiencing digital poverty. This can mean not having a device to get online, not having enough data to use the internet effectively and reliably, or not having the right level of digital skills.
We’re seeing thousands of older people socially isolated through a lack of essential digital skills and thousands of young people – often dubbed ‘digital natives’, lacking the digital skills required for the changing world of work.
We want to see the next Government commit to ensuring the UK is a true skills hub, identifying the skills required for jobs of the future and equipping the workforce to meet those needs.
12. Publish a full digital inclusion strategy and ensure that accessing data is a fundamental right.
13. Invest in ‘digital skills for work’ programmes for the UK workforce, to ensure that every person is equipped for the future world of work.
14. Increase the number of ‘green’ skills training courses and amend more courses to be ‘green’ such as Lifetime Skills, Bootcamps and apprenticeships.
15. Ensure digital skills remain a key priority in the delivery of the media literacy strategy, with clear targets to close the skills gap.
Place rehabilitation and victims’ rights at the heart of criminal justice policy
The UK justice system tends to prioritise custody over rehabilitative alternatives, an example of which is the high number of fixed term recalls to prison (over 20,000 a year) that occur for recently released offenders. Yet there is growing evidence that investment in strong rehabilitative services that start in the custodial setting reduces reoffending – which currently costs the UK £18bn a year – and therefore saves money.
Alongside rehabilitation, the justice system must work effectively for victims of crime. Fraud represents over 40% of all crimes on individuals and yet the resources for tackling it are lacking compared to other crimes. There is also an under-use of Restorative Justice in our justice system, an approach that is proven to benefit victims and reduce reoffending.
We want to see the next Government commit to empowering victims through strengthening the Victims’ Code and putting appropriate resource into the crimes that are most prevalent.
16. Prioritise rehabilitative alternatives to Fixed Term Recalls (FTR) and introduce national standards upon which an FTR is evoked.
17. Broaden access to technology in prisons for the use of education and rehabilitation.
18. Drive better outcomes for victims of fraud through an increase in police investigations and reduction in revictimisation.
19. Widen access to Restorative Justice (RJ) by including access to RJ Services as a right within the Victims Code.
Introduce a national offer for young people leaving care to end the postcode lottery
More than 11,000 young people leave the care system each year in the UK, often without the financial stability and support network that others take for granted.
We know that care experienced young people suffered disproportionately during the pandemic and have been hit hard again by the current Cost of Living crisis. Many are forced to choose between paying bills or buying food as money is so tight. Many more report they’re struggling with poor mental health. While some Local Offers for care experienced young people provide excellent support packages, there remains a postcode lottery.
We want to see the next Government commit to supporting care experienced young people through bold national policies, so they are given the best chance to succeed in life.
20. Ensure all care experienced people are made eligible for the over 25 Universal Credit rate from the age of 18.
21. Introduce Corporate Parenting Responsibilities so that organisations and government service providers are expected to treat care experienced people up to the age of 25 as their own children.
22. Make ‘care experience’ a protected characteristic under the Equalities Act 2010.