The forum was created in response to the growing interest from commissioning bodies in providing employment and skills services to offenders and ex-offenders. The forum plays an important role in trying to join up the commissioning of services across different government departments and agencies.
It also develops practical industry-led solutions aimed at helping the delivery of the most effective services to those in or leaving prison or who have an ex offending background.
Achievements to date include:
• Detailed joint responses to major developments in criminal justice, including the Coates Review and White Paper on Prison Safety and Reform
• A review of JSA Prison Leaver provision with recommendations shared with relevant government departments and agencies;
• Opportunity to hear speakers from the DWP, the Skills Funding Agency, the National Careers Service, Ministry of Justice and Prisoner Learning Alliance; and
• Sharing of best practice to assist industry efforts to communicate the Work Programme to prison leavers.
Key areas of focus for the future will be to build upon the successes so far and shape future provision, including implementing the reforms laid out in the White Paper and how new services will dovetail with existing employment and skills provision.
This forum is run jointly between ERSA and AELP.