UNLOCK e-newsletter – October 2010 Welcome to October 2010’s e-newsletter. UNLOCK have over 5,000 members, and this email is sent to every UNLOCK member who has provided us with an email address. If you have any suggestions for content, would like to make any submissions, or would like to make a comment on the UNLOCK e-newsletter, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Any submissions must be received by the 25th of the month. You are more than welcome to pass this email on to others who you think may find it useful. We’ve added a pdf version of the e-newsletter, so that you can print it and share it if you wish. If you have received the e-newsletter indirectly and find it useful, please sign up to receive directly by joining UNLOCK as a member, free of charge. This will guarantee that you receive it and will allow us to know who the e-newsletter is reaching.
In this month’s e-newsletter A round-up of October Publication: Independent Advisory Panel on the Disclosure of Criminal Records (IAPDCR) – UNLOCK’s Proposed Filtering Approach Publication: ‘Time is Money’: Research report on financial exclusion and the justice system News: Home Office announce reviews of Vetting & Barring and the Criminal Records Regime Opportunity: Photography Project – We need your help Opportunity: Consultation on the first ever UK code of practice on data sharing launched by the Information Commissioner – Have your say Opportunity: Sentencing Council Consultation on Assault Opportunity: Apply to become an UNLOCK Trustee A roundup of UNLOCK’s work in the Media Useful information & advice Updated List of Insurers Treatment of convictions obtained in the EU Where to get help with employment – The NOMS/ESF project What’s being discussed on the Member’s Forum Other News (selected from UNLOCK’s delicious page)
A round-up of October Back to top This section looks to cover some of the developments over the last month, both in our own work but also in other areas, as well as detailing opportunities (both with UNLOCK and with others) which members may be interested in. DON’T FORGET – You can keep up to date with developments at UNLOCK by following our Twitter page, become a fan of UNLOCK’s Facebook page or sign up to our delicious updates (via RSS feed)
Publication: Independent Advisory Panel on the Disclosure of Criminal Records (IAPDCR) – UNLOCK’s Proposed Filtering Approach As part of the ongoing work of the IAPDCR, we have put together our views on what we think a set of 'filtering rules' should look like. These can be found in the document below. Our proposal has been devised as a result of extensive consultation with you, our members. We have been pleased by the number of responses we have received from you on this subject, and we have sought to reflect these are fairly as possible by bringing together what can be sometimes competing positions into one consolidated approach which we feel strikes the right balance between access to information for safeguarding purposes and enabling people to move on with their lives. We have split our proposal down into a number of key areas, including: our views on step-down, our principles for filtering, the categorisation or offences, the time periods, the UNLOCK model of automatic filtering and a procedure in addition to automatic filtering rules. Download our proposed approach: UNLOCK's Proposed Filtering Approach. More details on this panel, and a background to the work, can be found on our specific campaign page. We would be grateful to receive your comments on this proposed system. You can discuss it on the specific thread on our Members’ forum, or email your thoughts to email@example.com
Publication: ‘Time is Money’: Research report on financial exclusion and the justice system We’re pleased to announce the launch of "Time is Money", a report by UNLOCK and the Prison Reform Trust. The report draws on our experiences of financial discrimination over the last few years, and is the direct result of interviews/surveys with people in prison and a survey of our members. You can download the report from our website at http://www.unlock.org.uk/campaign.aspx (click on the picture of the report, warning:large file). We've been doing some media to support the launch, and some hyperlinks are provided below.
UNLOCK Press Release BBC Radio 5 Live at 19 min 05 secs (on iPlayer for the next 7 days - otherwise click here)
The Independent BBC News Press Association
It's a long report but we would be very grateful for your thoughts and comments. This is UNLOCK's first research report and we're keen to know what you think. For example, you may think that it’s helpful to highlight these issues or that reports are a waste of time! On that subject, we are not just going to sit this on the shelf and pat ourselves on the back. We're hoping to arrange a high-level roundtable discussion with the relevant decision-makers, in order to see some real change. You can post your comments here on the UNLOCK Members’ Forum so that others can add their thoughts., or you can contact Chris Bath, the author of the report from our end (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you really don't want to comment publically. We hope that you can feel proud of the report and that it is an accurate reflection of your experiences.
News: Home Office announce reviews of Vetting & Barring and the Criminal Records Regime The Home Office have (finally) announced the Terms of Reference for the long-awaited review into the Vetting & Barring scheme. You can read the press release. They have also announced a separate criminal records review, which will be undertaken by Sunita Mason, which will be delivered in two stages. The first will relate to the issues regarding vetting & barring, reporting in December, and the second will be looking at the criminal records regime more generally, reporting in the new year. The Terms of Reference for each review can be viewed below. As more develops on both of these areas of work, we will update the relevant sections of our UNLOCKing Employment campaign.
Vetting & Barring Scheme Terms of Reference Criminal Records Review Terms of Reference
Opportunity: Photography Project – We need your help We have received contact from a member, Hannah. She has past criminal convictions herself, but is now in the final year of a degree in photography. She is using one of her projects to create some images that UNLOCK can have and control usage rights of. The aims of her project are: 1. To produce high quality images that reflect the work of UNLOCK 2. To produce images that challenge stereotypes/discrimination and provide positive messages 3. To collaborate with members and the UNLOCK team in developing some online campaigns to raise awareness. She has some ideas of advertising style photographs that she will share with members and ask for feedback on, but she is also really keen to have ideas and suggestions from members of the sort of images they would like to see represent them as reformed offenders.
We are aware of the potential implications for members being personally identified as having previous convictions, so she is happy to use models - as do many charities - in any photographs. She is also keen for many members who have talents that could support this project to contribute, not just in concepts and ideas but in writing, artistic design and graphics. We have set up a specific discussion on the Members’ forum in the first instance, so if you have any thoughts, ideas or opinions, or want to get involved, please do contribute.
Opportunity: Consultation on the first ever UK code of practice on data sharing launched by the Information Commissioner – Have your say The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has launched its consultation on the Data sharing code of practice. This code explains how the Data Protection Act 1998 applies to the sharing of personal data. It also provides good practice advice that will be relevant to all organisations that share personal data. The code is aimed at any organisation involved in the sharing of personal data. Organisations should use this code to help them to understand how to adopt good practice. While some parts of the code are necessarily focussed on sector-specific issues, the majority of the good practice recommendations will apply to all data sharing regardless of its context and scale. You can download the code of practice consultation paper here. To respond to this consultation, you need to download the consultation questions and then send your response by email to email@example.com by 5th January 2011. Alternatively you can send your response by letter to: Policy Delivery, ICO, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
Why is this consultation important?
Details of criminal convictions are regarded as ‘sensitive personal data’ under the Data Protection Act 1998. People with criminal convictions are quite understandably concerned about who has access to their criminal convictions, who it can be shared with, and what their rights are This consultation is looking to develop a Code of Practice on data sharing. We need to make sure that people with convictions are able to raise their concerns about the way information is shared between organisations, and that the Code of Practice prevents misuse of criminal conviction information. Issues - such as employers requesting Police Subject Access Requests, making such requests on your behalf, employers telling other employers about things they are not entitled to know, the police disclosing information to other organisations that they shouldn’t – all of these need to be raised to make sure that the ICO
We will be putting together our own response to this consultation, to ensure that, when devising the Code of Practice, consideration is giving to specifically the issue of sharing criminal conviction information.
If you are planning to make your own response, please do let us know, and if you can provide us with your comments. If you wish to provide any comments to us for us to include in our response, please feel free. Either way, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opportunity: Sentencing Council Consultation on Assault On 13 October 2010, the Sentencing Council launched a 12 week consultation proposing changes to the guidelines that judges and magistrates use to sentence people for offences of assault. The Sentencing Council has published a draft guideline, a full consultation paper intended for criminal justice professionals, a shorter public consultation paper, a resource assessment and an equality impact assessment. An online questionnaire will follow shortly. If you are a member of the public and would like to read or respond to the consultation: Assault – public consultation If you are a criminal justice professional (including a member of the judiciary) and would like to read or respond to the consultation: Assault – professional consultation Other useful documents: Assault – draft guideline Assault – resource assessment Assault – equality impact assessment The closing date for response is 5 January 2011. You can send your responses by email, or by post to Nigel Patrick, Office of the Sentencing Council, Steel House, 11 Tothill Street, London, SW1H 9LJ. If you do not wish to make a response directly, you can email your thoughts to email@example.com or post them on the Members’ Forum. .
Opportunity: Apply to become an UNLOCK Trustee We are seeking new Trustees, including a Chair and Treasurer. Our vision is of a society in which reformed offenders are able to fulfil their positive potential through equal opportunities, rights and responsibilities. Driven by the needs of reformed offenders, UNLOCK works to reduce crime by helping them overcome the social exclusion and discrimination that prevents them from successfully reintegrating into society. UNLOCK empowers reformed offenders to break down barriers to reintegration by offering practical advice, support, information, knowledge and skills. We campaign for legislative, policy and wider social change as well working to increase reformed offenders’ participation, power and influence in decision making.
Although small in size, the charity has an impressive reach and impact at the most senior levels in the criminal justice system, government, the media and private financial sector, and we are ambitious to build on our past success to reach new objectives. We are looking for new trustees with the skills, experience, energy and ideas to ensure sound governance and oversee our plans to achieve better opportunities and rights. We especially welcome applications from people with past criminal convictions. These are voluntary positions, though travel expenses are payable. Please download the information pack for further information. If you wish to apply, please complete and return the application form either by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by post (UNLOCK, the National Association of Reformed Offenders, 35a High Street, Snodland, Kent, ME6 5AG) Closing date for applications: 30 November 2010. If you have any queries, please contact Debbie Young (email@example.com) Downloads: Trustee Recruitment Pack Trustee Application Form
A roundup of UNLOCK’s work in the Media
UNLOCK Press Release - Financial services key to 'rehabilitation revolution' - 25th October – covered by BBC News, and the Press Association Announcing launch of ‘Time is Money’ – Radio 5 Live (at 19 min 05 secs - on iPlayer for the next 7 days – otherwise click here), 25th October Use of Home Detention Curfew/Tagging – BBC Radio Kent, 19th October Employment in prison – BBC Radio Tees, 6th October Real work in prison – BBC Radio Newcastle, 6th October Real work for people in prison – BBC Somerset, 6th October Campaigners back prisoner jobs plan – The Mirror, 5th October Insurance law from Georgian times needs update – Financial Times, 2nd October The ‘Sarah’s Law’ Offender Disclosure Pilot – BBC Radio Wiltshire, 1st October
Useful information & advice Back to top You will find below details of some of the changes that we have made to the Information & Advice section this month. This is often as a result of either new developments, or as a result of individual cases that we have learnt from, so that people with convictions are aware of the situations that may affect them.
Updated List of Insurers Whilst we are still waiting for the work of others to be done, which will then enable us to publish a detailed Information & Advice document on seeking insurance, we have, in the meantime, published a slightly updated list of insurers on our website. This can be downloaded from here. In particular, you will notice that those companies which are able to quote online are highlighted in yellow. There are also some changes to the types of insurance that each offer and some changes to contact details, including telephone numbers and web-links.
Treatment of convictions obtained in the EU The Ministry of Justice has published a circular (2010/12) to provide guidance on the implementation of section 144 and schedule 17 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. These provisions of the Coroners and Justice Act, which came into force in England and Wales on 15 August 2010, mean that convictions obtained in other European Union member states are taken into account in criminal proceedings in England and Wales to the same extent as domestic convictions. The circular is available to download here.
Where to get help with employment – The NOMS/ESF project Whilst it is far from being complete, we have been working on a page on our website which seeks to map out the providers of a rather large contract which is being funded to “improve the employability of offenders”. To view the page, click here. It is difficult to explain in one sentence what this project does, as it varies depending on which region you look at, but generally-speaking it is a project which is focused on those near to release from prison and those in the community on a Probation Order. It is designed to help those people get into sustainable employment. What that “aim” actually means in practice is sometimes confusing. Unfortunately, despite this project having started some time ago (which was Phase 1), and the next amount of money (Phase 2) being due to be commissioned (i.e. the successful bidders to run the contract are to be announced) next week, there is very little information available about who is responsible for what and in what circumstances it will be useful to people with convictions.
As a result, we’ve been trying to get hold of all of the details of the various providers across the country, and what you see on this page at the moment is what we have available. We hope to get it more detailed (and more client-focused, as many of the details relate to Contract Managers and commissioners, which are not particularly useful for individuals looking for help) as time goes by, but in the meantime we wanted to bring this page to the attention of members as it may be useful. If you are on Probation, or if your family member is coming up to release from prison, you should look to contact those responsible in your area for this and see how they can help. We’d be interested in how you get on, and if/how they have been able to help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or take part in the Members’ Forum.
What’s being discussed on the Members’ Forum Back to top We’ve picked out a selection of key themes being discussed on the members’ forum this month. We’ve sought to give quite a good coverage to the topics discussed this month, but the list below isn’t exhaustive of the contributions made to the forum this month. You can contribute to each of the discussions by clicking the relevant links or visit forum.unlock.org.uk for a full list of topics previously discussed.
“Working in finance” – an example of where, despite being the best qualified person, and being offered the job, and their conviction being irrelevant to the job, the employer has revoked the offer a job because of an unspent conviction.
“working...” – a moving account by lin on the rather horrific experiences of her time in HMP Holloway many years ago, and the implications this has had on the rest of her life.
“CRBs – what is exactly the law?” – this discussion has continued with a number of interesting inputs from various perspectives.
“Motor Cover becoming easier to obtain...” – consider phlebas hits on one of the fundamental problems with current insurance law around disclosure, particularly where insurers do not ask specific questions.
“Financial exclusion report: Are you serious?” and “UNLOCK report on how the criminal justice system creates financial exclusion” – some interesting comments on the UNLOCK/PRT “Time is Money” report.
“Newbie questions on travel” - this thread touches on some of the issues people have when travelling in and out of the country and the approaches of the UK Border Agency – contains some useful information & advice from forever changes and AndyH.
“Facebook” – this discussions raises questions about access to facebook, as well as moving onto police visits for people on the SOR.
“Internet photos of the convicted” – this thread raises the issues of the issue and the viral spreading of information, including photos, and the impact this can have.
“Caution – a veritable can of worms” – this discussions raises some serious questions about the way that cautions are administered, the impacts that they have of individuals, and includes some useful advice (particularly from jackdaw) on ways to challenge.
“Daft Prison ‘Rules’” – a rather interesting discussion about experiences from people in prison and their family members
“Spending Review – Ministry of Justice” – reaction to the Comprehensive Spending Review
“Photography Project” – as detailed above, Hannah explains a project she is working on in helping UNLOCK by producing high quality images and advertising-style photographs.
You can view the forum at forum.unlock.org.uk. If you are receiving this e-newsletter direct then you are already a member of UNLOCK. You can login to the forum here, where there is an option if you have forgotten your login information. However, if you are a member but are not yet registered with the forum, you can do so here, entering your membership number. If you cannot remember your membership number, email email@example.com. If you are not yet a member of UNLOCK, you can join at www.unlock.org.uk.
Other News (selected from UNLOCK’s delicious page) Back to top Below you’ll find a selection of relevant news that we have posed on our delicious page over the last month. can receive updates by using RSS feeds.
22nd – Scrutiny of vetting and barring scheme gets underway – Home Office 21st – Coalition in the dock over prisoner voting – The Guardian 20th – Policing and criminal justice cut by 20% - The Guardian 20th – Government is tackling homelessness to stop revolving door of re-offending – Communities & Local Government 18th – House of Lords Question (and debate) on Prisoner Voting – Hansard 15th – The prisoners voting cheap labour for public services – The Guardian 12th – Prison Governors call for release of 2,500 inmates – The Guardian 6th – Turn prisoners into workers – The Guardian 5th – Prisoners should work 40 hours a week, says Ken Clarke – BBC News 5th – Prisoner education must focus on rehabilitation – The Guardian 1st – Sex offender alert scheme starts across Dorset – BBC News
Sent to you by Christopher Stacey LLB LLM | Information & Advice Manager Back to top
Notes UNLOCK’s e-newsletter is distributed to all UNLOCK Members who subscribe with an email address and are happy to be contacted by UNLOCK via email. The e-newsletter content may be reproduced providing UNLOCK is referenced as the source We would welcome submissions to the e-newsletter. To submit content, email firstname.lastname@example.org To subscribe to receive UNLOCK’s e-newsletter, you can register, free of charge, as an UNLOCK Member at http://www.unlock.org.uk/onlineform.aspx. Any queries can be directed to email@example.com To unsubscribe, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Unsubscribe”. © UNLOCK, the National Association of Reformed Offenders, 2010 35a High Street | Snodland | Kent | ME6 5AG T: 01634 2473500 E: email@example.com W: www.unlock.org.uk