This study examines Integrated Offender Management (IOM) and the level of Third Sector involvement across four pioneer sites in England. It was commissioned by the National Offender Management Service and was undertaken by Nacro between December 2008 and February 2009. The four pioneer sites where the Integrated Offender Management projects are operational include: Lancashire; London; Nottinghamshire; and West Yorkshire.
The aims of the study are to:
- Assess the level of engagement between the pioneer sites and Third Sector Agencies and provide a baseline of engagement.
- Identify barriers to Third Sector engagement and strategies to address them.
- Provide recommendations for the future working of IOM projects with Third Sector Agencies.
The study found that Third Sector Agencies were involved in varying levels across the four areas. We have divided the levels of engagement of the Third Sector in relation to service delivery, operational management and strategic oversight.
There was Third Sector involvement in IOM service delivery at three of the four study projects. TSAs were involved in service delivery in three ways:
- Delivery partners – as an integral part of the IOM: co-working with statutory, third and private sector agencies; co-located with these agencies in the same office; and through the sharing of relevant intelligence and other data between these agencies.
- Referral partners – these were TSAs which operated as delivery partners within the IOM but which also had an additional role, delivering services outside of the IOM, which the IOM referred clients to. Because these TSAs were delivery partners within the IOM, they had a closer relationship and enjoyed a greater level of exchange with the IOM than TSAs who were referral agencies.
- Referral agencies – these were TSAs that received referrals from the IOM. While they had some understanding of the IOM, they were less closely involved than referral partners.
There was Third Sector representation on the project steering groups at three of the four study areas. In two of these areas there was a direct link between the TSAs involved in the IOM and the steering group. In one area TSA representation came solely from IOM delivery partners, in the other from IOM delivery partners and a referral agency.
In one area there was TSA involvement at the steering group, from representatives of groups that represented community interests. However, there was no direct involvement from TSAs that were acting as referral agencies for the IOM.
Strategic oversight for the IOMs operated in the following ways across the pioneer sites:
- Local oversight – in the form of links between the IOM steering group and the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) for the local authority area(s) where the study project was located.
- Pioneer site oversight – in the form of groups that had oversight of a number of IOM projects (including the study projects) across the pioneer site area, generally the county or in London across the whole of the city.
- County wide strategic oversight – the pioneer site groups reported to countywide or London wide Criminal Justice Board.
In relation to these tiers of strategic oversight TSA engagement was less well considered than for service delivery and operational management. As a consequence it was inconsistent and not ‘joined up’.
Variations in TSA engagement
The variation in Third Sector engagement between the IOM projects was due to:
- The way in which the IOM developed.
- The strength of the drivers and facilitators for that engagement for both statutory and Third Sector Agencies.
- The composition of the local service provider market and the services they offered in relation to reducing re-offending pathways.
- Commissioning and procurement.
Barriers to engagement
There were a series of barriers to the engagement of Third Sector Agencies, many of which apply to the sector generally, such as funding and resource shortages, short term contracts and a lack of capacity to respond to commissioning opportunities.