Call for better volunteer management in the Criminal Justice System

Baroness Neuberger has published her report 'Volunteering Across the Criminal Justice System'. In it she says that 'volunteer management needs to be invested in if it is really to reap dividends, and the CJS, without doubt, needs more of this kind of investment' and 'a lack of investment in volunteer management inevitably results in volunteers having a bad experience. During the course of my research I have come across many cases of volunteers who have had a negative experience, as a direct result of poor investment in their management.'

Her recommendations:

  • A ministerial champion should be established for volunteering across the CJS
  • The agencies of the CJS on the ground should invest in volunteering and good volunteer management
  • All agencies of the CJS should have a strategy to engage the skills and time of ex-offenders, to deliver those services alongside professionals.
  • Employee volunteering should be rolled out throughout the CJS
  • The Office for Criminal Justice Reform should produce guidance and a toolkit for local criminal justice boards on how volunteering can help them meet their objectives.
  • Guidance should be produced for commissioners in the CJS on how to consider the involvement of volunteers when commissioning services.
  • Examine how more specific schemes for offenders (and ex-offenders) who want to volunteer could be extended across the country.
  • Unemployed people in contact with the Criminal Justice system should be signposted to volunteering opportunities as a stepping stone to entering the labour market.
  • Government departments and their partners should work to develop a sustainable funding model for victims' organisations, where volunteers are clearly providing a vita service that is not being provided by statutory services.
  • A coordinated cross-Government initiative to encourage employer support for voluntary roles.
  • Joint guidance, by the trade union movement and Volunteering England, on the use of volunteers within public services should be published.

The full report can be found at: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/124076/volunteers%20in%20cjs.pdf

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