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WHAT WORKS: LITERACY AND Probation

GENERAL OFFENDING
BEHAVIOUR PROGRAMMES Circular
REFERENCE NO:
PURPOSE
To note the publication of Home Office Research Findings 233 on literacy 32/2004
and general offending behaviour programmes (GOBPs); to outline the NPD
response and request input from areas; and to draw attention to forthcoming ISSUE DATE:
national conferences on the topic of Learning and Skills for offenders. 2 June 2004

ACTION IMPLEMENTATION DATE:


1. Areas that have already amended GOBP handouts, worksheets, Immediate
assignments etc in order to make them accessible to a wider range of
literacy levels are requested to send copies of the amended material by EXPIRY DATE:
30 June to the following: Sue Pearce (One-to-One: Room 259), David June 2007
Skyner (Think First: Room 223), or Jim Cowley (ETS: Room 223), all in
Horseferry House. TO:
2. Areas are particularly encouraged to nominate GOBP treatment Chairs of Probation Boards
managers to attend the forthcoming conferences (see below for details). Chief Officers of Probation
Secretaries of Probation Boards
SUMMARY
Findings 233, An evaluation of the literacy demands of general CC:
offending behaviour programmes, was published on 19 May by the
Board Treasurers
Research, Development and Statistics Directorate of the Home Office.
Regional Managers
In response to the recommendations of the study, an action plan is being
developed jointly between NPD and the Prison Service.
AUTHORISED BY:
RELEVANT PREVIOUS PROBATION CIRCULARS Sarah Mann, Head of
Interventions
PC15/2002

ATTACHED:
CONTACT FOR ENQUIRIES
Appendix: Letter from
Jim Cowley, Room 223, Horseferry House
DES/NPD/LSC
020 7217 8814 jim.cowley@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
Laura Fairweather, Room 253, Horseferry House
020 7217 0680 laura.fairweather@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

National Probation Directorate


Horseferry House, Dean Ryle Street, London, SW1P 2AW General Enquiries: 020 7217 0659 Fax: 020 7217 0660

Enforcement, rehabilitation and public protection


ACTION PLAN
The joint Prison and Probation action plan will build on existing local and national initiatives and will address the key
recommendations of the study. It will:

1. Explore the provision of training for programme tutors to enable them to accommodate the needs of offenders with
poor literacy;
2. Review GOBP materials for offenders (handouts, worksheets etc) to make them more accessible to a wider range of
literacy levels;
3. Provide advice on how offenders with poor literacy can be supported in attending programmes;
4. Ensure the provision of literacy screening information to programme tutors.

Some NPS areas have already adapted OBP materials (handouts, worksheets, assignments etc) for offenders with low
basic skills levels. This material will provide an important contribution to the national review.

CONFERENCES
The forthcoming conferences on learning and skills for offenders in York (9 July), Birmingham (2 July) and London (12
July) will provide an opportunity for areas to hear what provision is available for offenders with basic skills needs. A letter
announcing the conferences has been sent to areas; a copy is attached.

PC32/2004 - What Works: Literacy and General Offending Behaviour Programmes 2


Learning and Skills Council EDs

National Probation Service Areas


Chief Officers

Cc NPS Regional Managers


NPS Regional What Works Managers
regional ABSSU Regional Directors 27 May 2004
OLSU Learning and Skills Advisors
NPD Laura Fairweather, Roger Stevens, Marcus Smart, Eileen
Walsh
OLSU Paul McDonald
LSC Anita Hallam, Lynn Macqueen, Sue O’Hara

LEARNING AND SKILLS FOR OFFENDERS: THE ROLE OF ABSSU AND


FORTHCOMING PRACTICAL SUPPORT AVAILABLE TO STAFF

Dear Colleagues

The reason in writing to you is threefold. Firstly, to explain the role of the
Adult Basic Skills Strategy Unit (ABSSU) in raising the Skills for Life Agenda
with particular reference to resources and support available to staff delivering
Learning and Skills for offenders. Secondly, to outline some of the steps we
are taking as a partnership to build on the success of current initiatives and
structures in place for delivering Learning and Skills. And finally, to inform you
of a series of national conferences being held on 2nd, 9th and 12th of July,
which will provide practical support for staff in achieving Learning and Skills
targets for 2004/5.

As you may be aware, the Offenders Learning and Skills Unit (OLSU),
National Probation Service (NPS) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC)
are all working together to achieve an increase in literacy and numeracy skills
of offenders in prison and the community which is a key component of the
Governments Skills for Life Strategy. ABSSU is responsible for supporting the
successful implementation of this strategy and the detail of this, together with
a list of resource materials currently available are outlined in Annex A. At a
regional level support is also being provided through the Adult Basic Skills
Strategy Unit’s Regional Directors. A contact list for each region is attached
Annex B.
As a partnership we:

• are working with ABSSU to: engage and keep NPS Areas informed of the
Skills for Life Agenda, support the promotion of learning to offenders, build
the capacity of providers to improve the quality of teaching and learning
and the achievement of national qualifications, and provide support for
NPS Areas and local LSCs both in the drafting and implementation of
jointly managed Partnership Plans

• are continuing to consult with the LSC and NPD to ensure that future
development adds value to initiatives which are already available through
the local Learning and Skills Councils

• recognise the need to support coherent arrangements for offenders who


may serve part of their sentence in custody and part in the community in
order to ensure the successful continuation of their learning programme.

As part of our commitment to support staff in planning and development


around Learning and Skills, we are organising three national conferences on
the 2nd, 9th and 12th July in Birmingham, York and London respectively.
They will bring together senior and middle managers, pre-sentence report
writers, case managers, programme tutors, treatment managers and other
probation staff to seek to address these challenges. Attention will focus on the
following:

• increased awareness for staff of the Skills for Life agenda

• increased awareness of the Skills for Life learning infrastructure,


support materials and training opportunities;

• development of innovative training models and methodologies;

• communication and close work with providers;

• building on provider practice which works.

I would be grateful if you could circulate these dates to all appropriate staff. A
programme and further details will be sent to you shortly.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Yours sincerely

Jane Bateman Martin Copsey Jon Gamble Susan Pember


OLSU NPD LSC ABSSU