Dr Coral Sirdifield, Research Fellow in CaHRU was asked to speak at a Westminster Legal Policy Forum on the 7th of November 2017.
The event was attended by people from a variety of organisations including the voluntary sector, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, the House of Lords, the Ministry of Justice, and Community Rehabilitation Companies. It focused on the future of the Transforming Rehabilitation framework and priorities for Through the Gate resettlement. It included sessions on operational challenges for the probation framework, and whether probation services can deliver what we all want and expect.
The afternoon session, chaired by Lord German, focused on the future of Through the Gate resettlement – next steps for housing, healthcare and new partnerships.
Dr Sirdifield was the speaker for the healthcare section, and presented on how we can improve communication and referral processes between probation and health organisations. Her presentation focused on three main themes:
- Clarifying organisations’ responsibilities:
- Many CCGs are unaware of their responsibilities in relation to offender health,
- Offenders’ health needs are not always considered in Joint Strategic Needs Assessments, and
- Health can sometimes be seen as a ‘tick box’ exercise to CRCs
- Dr Sirdifield called for the government to produce an overarching offender health strategy, part of which would remind organisations of their responsibilities in relation to offender health. She suggested that outcomes could be tracked through probation inspections as part of their developing standards
- Improving service provision and access – here she made suggestions about how health agencies can work more proactively with probation, and new ways of working can be trialled
- Improving formal and informal communication between organisations – suggestions including co-locating criminal justice and health staff, and giving probation a voice on healthcare commissioning groups