You are here: Leading locally: Are PCCs the answer to the as yet unfulfilled ‘rehabilitation revolution’?

Published this week, the HM Chief Inspector of Probation’s annual report reveals the ongoing disappointing progress of the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme. Indeed, as Dame Glenys Stacey states, ‘regrettably, none of the government’s stated aspirations for Transforming Rehabilitating have been met in any meaningful way’. This follows concerns outlined by the National Audit Office which concluded that ‘77% of service users surveyed report[ed] that they had not noticed any change in the overall service they had personally received’ and follows earlier Inspectorate reports showing that the new support for short sentenced prisoners – many of whom face multiple problems including homelessness and substance misuse - is failing to break the cycle of crisis and crime.

An interesting parallel, last week Revolving Doors Agency launched Under The Spotlight, a review of all Police and Crime Plans in England and Wales which explores Police and Crime Commissioners’ (PCCs) commitments to address issues facing people with multiple and complex needs. We focused on PCCs because they are important local leaders, some of whom have emerged as real drivers of innovation despite the slow progress at the national policy level. From the review it is evident that PCCs have shown an appetite for dealing with difficult local problems (including the disproportionate impact of crisis and crime on people who experience a multitude of problems) through the commissioning of services and through thinking at systems level.

PCC priotities
PCC vulnerabilities

Some have also used their role in other ways, such as using their public profile to bring together stakeholders and fellow local leaders from other sectors to respond to local need. The role of PCC is particularly important at the present time, given the stagnation of progress in other parts of the criminal justice system. In many ways, these local leaders are focusing on the rehabilitation revolution.

However, to begin to realise the promise of a rehabilitation revolution, services across the criminal justice system (from policing through to probation) and health and social care must be incentivised to join up where possible. Supporting recovery from substance use, improved mental health and reduced reoffending depend on every part of the system playing its part.

To see examples of good practice across early intervention and prevention, young adults, mental health and women in contact with the criminal justice system, see our spotlight briefings here. Over the next year Revolving Doors will continue to work with PCCs to shine a spotlight on examples of good practice; and to support individual PCC offices in their work.