Closeup shot of an ex-offender writing on a note pad

From Prison to Purpose: Pilot project helping ex-offenders thrive

West Yorkshire Combined Authority is supporting people who have experience of prison or probation to move on with their lives, through a new upskilling scheme.

The scheme, which has been labelled as ‘pioneering’ by the combined authority, saw a pilot project taking place, during which six ex-offenders worked alongside charity User Voice to achieve level one NCFE qualifications. The charity also helped them to gain fixed-term employment as Peer Commissioners, as well as being awarded certificates by the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, at a Leeds event last week.

As the West Yorkshire Mayor develops her plans to re-commission Restorative Justice, an important victims’ service, User Voice and the commissioners will play key roles. This will be done using the experience of the commissioners to support victims’ complex needs, whilst helping to reform offenders.

Quote from Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

“I am on a mission to create a safer, fairer West Yorkshire and that includes supporting ex-offenders into employment and positive pathways.

“Whilst victims of crime remain at the heart of our work, it’s so important that we also support people leaving prison or probation and tackle underlying issues,

“We hope that the learning from this pilot will not only continue to help our communities locally but also be adopted nationally.”

Also commenting on the project, User Voice’s CEO, Simon Boddis, said:

“This project brings people’s lived experience of the criminal justice system to the heart of systemic change. Over the past 14 years we have seen the positive effects that this can have not only on an individual’s life but also communities and the wider system.

“The peer commissioners trained as part of this project will now go on to ensure that services supporting people leaving prison in West Yorkshire are robust, effective and help prevent future victims.

“It is important that we do not stop there. We strongly urge that this pilot is adopted nationally to support more prison leavers and give them a voice to help drive positive change.”


Image credit: iStock

PSE December/January 2024

PSE December/January 2024

Northumberland’s climate change resource is empowering the next generation

Dive into our latest edition for December/January. Discover insightful articles on climate change, innovation in nuclear decommissioning, fostering collaboration, and more.



View all videos
#PSE365: Public Sector Events

Be A Part Of It!

PSE365: Public Sector Virtual Events

PSE has created a full calendar of events to address the most important issues that influence the delivery of public sector services. 


Over 365 days you’ll have the opportunity to hear from a range of highly motivating, informative and inspirational speakers. These speakers will equip you with knowledge and unique insight to enable you to overcome the challenges that you face.


See our full events calendar and register now! 

Public Sector Executive Podcast

Ep 48. Achieving Net Zero - Cllr Abdul Jabbar - Oldham Council

As central government aims for the UK to be net zero by 2050, councils around the country make plans for how to reduce emissions. This episode’s guest, Oldham’s Councillor Abdul Jabbar outlines the importance of coming together to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint, the benefits of achieving net zero, and how Oldham Council are working to do just that.

Touching on the role that the public sector can play in sustainability, Cllr Jabbar said:

“I think it’s really important that the public sector gives true leadership in this space. I think something like one third of the carbon emissions in the country come from the public sector, so obviously we’re a big polluter in terms of the emissions.”

Councillor Jabbar also spoke about challenges being faced by organisations:

“I think the biggest one has been finance. Clearly the local government sector in particular has had its grants cut from central government by a huge amount and that’s had a very big impact in terms of our plans to take forward projects in relation to climate change, so that’s a major issue.”

To hear what Cllr Jabbar has to say about the mission to achieve net zero carbon emissions, listen to the latest episode of the Public Sector Executive Podcast.

More articles...

View all