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ASSISTANCE FOR EX-PRISONERS WHO ARE RELEASED ON

SUCCESSFUL APPEAL AGAINST CONVICTION

Report of the Working Group

April 2002
ASSISTANCE FOR EX-PRISONERS WHO ARE RELEASED ON
SUCCESSFUL APPEAL AGAINST CONVICTION

1. Introduction

1.1 The Home Office first considered the issue of whether, and what, assistance
should be given to prisoners who were released after successfully appealing
against conviction in 1998. In October of that year Lord Williams of Mostyn QC,
then a Home Office Minister, indicated in response to correspondence from
Members of Parliament1 that he accepted that the compensation procedure for
wrongful conviction (even though an interim payment can be made to an
applicant) did not provide an adequate answer to the need for immediate practical
help on release.

1.2 He also indicated that he could see some benefit in assisting a voluntary sector
body familiar with prisoner resettlement issues to develop, on a national basis, an
advice and counselling service specifically geared to the needs of successful
appellants. He noted that this approach would enable that voluntary sector body to
build up the necessary expertise and knowledge, so that released prisoners could
be referred to a centrally managed service rather than having to come to terms
with their freedom as best they can with the help of such local resources as they
can identify.

1.3 In June 1999 the Rt Hon Paul Boateng, also a former Minister at the Home Office,
indicated2 that the Home Office had again considered the difficulties faced by
wrongly convicted individuals who are released abruptly from prison following
appeal proceedings. He noted that the issue had been considered the previous year
and that it had been concluded that it would be helpful to fund a voluntary body to
develop a national expert advice and counselling service geared to the needs of
this group. It was decided that provision should be made for a grant to be made to
a voluntary body to develop and deliver such a service.

2 The Working Group

2.1 Financial provision was made available in principle in April 2000 to enable a
voluntary body to develop such a service. The Home Office Probation Unit3
convened a working group that met for the first time in July 2000. Membership of
the group was drawn from Home Office Officials (including the Probation Unit,
the Justice and Victims Unit and the Prison Service) and members of the National
Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) and the Society
of Voluntary Associates (SOVA). Both voluntary sector organisations were
chosen for their long-standing and broad experience in the criminal justice field,
particularly in the resettlement of offenders.

1 The Rt Hon Peter Brooke CH MP and Hilary Armstrong MP


2
In a reply to Jeremy Corbyn MP
3
The National Probation Directorate from 1st April 2001, following the establishment of the National Probation Service for
England and Wales
2.2 The Association of Chief Officers of Probation was also contacted because,
although the Probation Service has no statutory duty towards ex-prisoners who
successfully appeal against conviction, the Home Office was aware that some
services had been involved with giving advice – on a non-statutory basis - to
successful appellants where advice had been requested and where local resources
permitted.

2.3 The working group’s terms of reference were to oversee and direct consideration
of what assistance might be given on release to ex-prisoners who successfully
appeal against conviction and how that assistance might best be delivered. The
group was to consider the options and report to Ministers with recommendations.
No target date was set for delivery of the final report to Ministers.

2.4 Key issues for consideration by the group were:

• Whether there should be a scoping study (one possibility was for a joint scoping
study by NACRO and SOVA) to determine the nature and extent of the need;

• What kind of service might be offered to clients and how those in particular need
could be identified;

• The likely cost of the scoping work and the provision of a service;

• Whether a service might be run jointly by NACRO and SOVA, with NACRO
contributing its housing expertise and SOVA using its national network of
volunteers to deliver the service;

• Whether there was a role within the service for two existing resettlement projects
funded by the Home Office4; and

• The likely time scale for completion of the working group’s consideration of the
issue, their report to Ministers and the implementation of a service.

3 The Scoping Study

3.1 At the first meeting of the working group in July 2000, the members decided that
further information was required to inform the development of the advice service.
An independent consultant was commissioned5 to undertake the scoping work and
to report back to the group by the end of December 2000.

3.2 The terms of reference for the scoping study were:

4 EASI (Easily Accessible Service Information) – a database of resettlement information for use by probation areas and RIAS

(Resettlement and Information Advice Service) - which provides information and advice for offenders and their families. Both
projects are run by NACRO
5 Mr Peter Shore was appointed to undertake the scoping work for the group on the joint recommendation of NACRO and
SOVA. He is an independent consultant who works mainly with the voluntary sector. Prior to establishing his consultancy
service he worked in Prison Education and with NACRO. He has also served on Home Office consultative groups relating to
work with ex-offenders.
• To devise a service based on the needs of those who had successfully appealed
against conviction;

• To investigate the potential numbers of clients and the average length of time
served in prison;

• To consider whether the length of time served should be a criterion of eligibility


for the service (ie – those having spent the longest in prison being considered a
priority user for the service);

• To assess the likely costs of providing the service and to suggest costed options
for models of delivery;

• To ensure that the advice service was at least equivalent to the resettlement
services afforded to short sentence prisoners;

• To ensure that the service included advice on practical matters such as housing,
employment, benefits, health and community support services and initial advice
about compensation claims; and

• To consider the potential involvement of the statutory and voluntary sectors in the
provision of the service.

4 The Scoping Study

4.1 The first draft of the consultant’s report on the scoping study was presented to the
working group in November 2000 for consideration. The final report “Assistance
to Prisoners Released on Successful Appeal against Conviction (Report of a
scoping study to assess scale and nature of needs and how needs could be met)”
was received towards the end of January 2001. A copy is attached for the
Minister’s information.

4.2 During the scoping study work Mr Shore drew on factual and statistical
information from the Criminal Cases Review Commission Annual Report for
1999/2000 and consulted a range of people with specialist expertise or relevant
experience in the area. These included Home Office officials; Probation Service
practitioners and senior officers; Prison Service staff; legal representatives whose
clients had successfully appealed against conviction; psychiatrists with experience
of the mental health issues which may arise after release; a criminologist;
representatives of the Citizens Advice Bureau sited within the Royal Courts of
Justice in London; the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation (MOJO); and the
Federation of Irish Societies. He also spoke to a number of individuals who had
been imprisoned, sometimes for extended periods, before being released on
appeal.

Representations made during the scoping study phase

4.3 During the course of his work, Mr Shore also received a written submission from
the Association of Chief Officers of Probation (ACOP). This submission was
attached as an appendix to the Scoping Study Report. The primary concern raised
in the submission was that there were appropriate arrangements in place to
manage the concerns and expectations of the victims in cases where the person
originally convicted of the offence was subsequently released on appeal. It
emphasised the need for victims to receive information about the appeal
proceedings and for them to receive limited information about the outcome and
support thereafter. ACOP recommended that organisations representing the
victims of crime be consulted about what information might be provided, what
support might be offered and how it might best be delivered6.

4.4 Mr Shore also received an outline project proposal from the National Association
of Citizens Advice Bureaux (NACAB) for an advice service for those freed on
appeal which could be managed and delivered through the Bureau at the Royal
Courts of Justice in London (where all appellants in relevant cases are brought and
released, if successful). This project proposal was also attached as an appendix to
the scoping study report.

4.5 No other representations were received during the course of the work to scope the
service, although one further representation7 was sent to the Home Office direct,
on the advice of the consultant, in April 2000. This is explained in further detail
below (paragraphs 6.7 – 6.11).

Summary of Scoping Study Findings

4.6 The scoping study looked at the two primary sources of clients in need of an
advice service: referrals by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to
the Court of Appeal and out-of-time appeals. The Report notes that 80 per cent of
the cases referred by the CCRC in 1999/2000 resulted in success for the appellant.
This suggests a likely annual figure of around 15-20 new cases each year. There
are also likely to be a small number of additional cases per year arising from
successful out-of-time appeals. In total, the annual case load for an advice
service is likely to be in the region of 70 cases per year (new referrals prior to
release, existing cases - immediately after release - plus cases requiring support
beyond the immediate post-release period).

4.7 The scoping study found that there was an opportunity between referral of a case
to the Court of Appeal and the date of the appeal hearing – an average period of
12 months – for pre-release work with appellants. This needed to be followed up
with immediate support at the Royal Courts of Justice for those freed at the court
and with continuing support and help with practical matters thereafter. The
scoping study therefore suggested that first contact should be made prior to
release and that contact should continue throughout the appeal and be
available on a tapered basis after release. With the average period in custody
for this group being 10 years, it was recognised that some individuals would have
been imprisoned for very lengthy periods and may need support for significant
periods after release.

6 At the time of the ACOP submission there was no statutory duty upon local probation boards to offer a service to victims of
crime. Section 69 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 placed a duty upon probation boards to offer such a
service and guidance on the operation of the duty includes guidance on action to be taken by the statutory agencies in cases
where there is an appeal against the conviction.
7 Mr John Kamara submitted a proposal to Home Office Ministers on behalf of “Life after Life” for a service based around
residential accommodation and referral from there to specialist services/help with access to mainstream services.
4.8 The scoping study also noted that all appellants in cases referred to the Court of
Appeal were brought to the Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ) in the Strand, London,
for the hearings and were often discharged there at the end of the hearing. The
report found therefore that there was a need for a representative of the service
to attend the RCJ for each individual’s discharge and to make ensure that
immediate needs were met on the day (ie: payment of entitlement to a prison
service discharge grant on release and assistance to reach the intended destination
on the day of release).

4.9 The study found that the problems faced by successful appellants on release are
many and varied and include obtaining sufficient documentation relating to
identity, gaining access to accommodation, social security benefits, local
healthcare services and other mainstream provision. They also need help with
practical day-to-day matters, such as opening bank accounts. They have to cope
with these problems whilst dealing with the effects of a release from long periods
of imprisonment into a changed world. The study suggested that preparatory
work could take place prior to release to alleviate the worst effects of these
problems. Prisoners could be helped to secure any necessary documentation,
provided with general information and advice and could be put in touch with
appropriate contacts which would enable them to cope more easily with the
challenges they face. A service could provide general advice and assistance
with these matters on a one-to-one basis to help clients establish the normal
entitlements of citizenship and to avoid social exclusion.

4.10 The study also found significant evidence that many individuals suffer serious
psychological or psychiatric problems as a result of their wrongful imprisonment
and that these problems are often not apparent until after release. The study found
that expert facilities do exist for addressing these problems but they need to be
accessed immediately on release and some are available only on a private basis. It
suggested that the service needed to be aware of the likelihood of these
problems and needed to have a mechanism in place for referral of clients to
appropriate services at the right time.

4.11 The study also found that, for those who will qualify for compensation, the
speed at which an interim compensation payment can be made can significantly
affect the experience of the successful appellant in the period immediately after
release. Not everyone is aware that they can make a claim or how to do it. It
suggested that the service could seek to put individuals in touch with solicitors
equipped to ensure payments are applied for as quickly as possible. It could
also direct clients to specialist help and advice on money management where
required.

4.12 The scoping work revealed a strong consensus that the service should be
provided by a voluntary organisation that is not perceived as being for, or
concerned with, ex-offenders. Wrongfully convicted people do not wish to be
seen in this category. It also suggested that a completely new organisation may
not be the most cost effective way of providing a service, at least in the short
term. Several organisations were identified as having the potential to provide the
service as part of their activities, although the study also suggested that the
service should be overseen by a steering committee of those expert and
concerned in the field.

4.13 The study carefully considered the models of operation and the most suitable
type of organisation. In summary, it suggested that the service would need to be
able to:

• Keep in contact with and make visits to prisoners prior to release;


• Have a presence at the Court of Appeal in order to be able to give immediate
assistance at the point of release;
• Maintain a high level of support in the early post-release period, particularly in the
period before any compensation comes through; and
• Provide access for support on a tapering basis in the longer term.

4.14 Finally, the study made an assessment of the likely cost of providing an advice
service for ex-prisoners who had been released after successfully appealing
against conviction. It suggested that a service operated initially by one full-time
and one part-time worker, plus administrative support and a team of volunteers
could be provided at a cost of around £75,000 per year, with the potential for
future fund-raising and expansion in the light of experience and evaluation of the
service.

5 Potential Delivery Organisations

5.1 During the course of the scoping work, the independent consultant looked at a
number of organisations within the voluntary sector as potential service providers.
Three organisations emerged during the course of the study as having the potential
to deliver the service and each was considered. The three organisations were: the
Society of Voluntary Associates (SOVA); the Miscarriages of Justice
Organisation (MOJO); and the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux
(NACAB). Given the strong view that clients would not want to access a service
provided by an organisation strongly associated with ex-offenders, the National
Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) were not
considered.

SOVA
5.2 SOVA does not have such a high public profile in terms of their work with
offenders as NACRO. The consultant’s view is that it is less well-known as an
organisation with a focus upon offenders amongst the individuals, lawyers and
professionals (other than the probation service) spoken to in the course of the
scoping study work. It did not start, therefore, from a position of being totally
ruled out by association with the criminal justice system or work with offenders.
Nevertheless, its stated mission of “Strengthening communities and reducing
crime” does indicate its beneficiaries include offenders. Indeed, to fit the proposed
advice service within its charitable purposes, the work would have to be seen as
coming under the heading of community safety.

5.3 However, SOVA was considered as having advantages as a service delivery


organisation. It has considerable knowledge and experience of working within
prisons and of working with the probation service and has credibility within these
sectors. It has, of course, considerable experience of operating teams of volunteers
and trains and supports these to a high standard. It does a lot of work with people
leaving residential care (where there may be some parallels in terms of helping
people to adjust after institutionalisation and stigma) and has some experience of
working with families. A key drawback was that, although it has a strong regional
presence, SOVA does not have national coverage. Nevertheless, it could envisage
operating local volunteers in collaboration with local probation services, if
necessary, or providing a training/consultancy package on using volunteers to
another organisation operating the service. On balance, SOVA were not thought
to be the most suitable service provider.

The Miscarriages of Justice Organisation (MOJO)


5.4 MOJO was set up by Mr Paddy Hill, himself a victim of a miscarriage of justice
(Mr Hill was one of “the Birmingham Six”). The scoping study work suggested
that MOJO already aims to do all of the work described in the project
specification. However evidence from the study suggested that these aims are
currently aspirational. The organisation works entirely on a voluntary basis at
present, responding on an ad hoc basis to particular miscarriage cases. However,
they have been able to offer temporary accommodation to several of those being
released from the Court of Appeal in Mr Hill’s own house and they are able to
provide continuing support through “befriending”. It was felt that they have the
obvious advantage, in terms of credibility, of having been through the experience
themselves. They now wish to progress their position by employing someone
trained and experienced in housing and benefits advice work.

5.5 The consultant noted that MOJO have applied for charitable status for the
organisation, but it was not clear at the time whether this had been granted. It was
felt that MOJO had great potential but a member of their own “management
committee” felt that the organisation needed more structure and direction before it
would be in a position to provide the kind of service envisaged. It could, however,
be of great assistance by providing contacts and information, as well as volunteers
who had themselves had the same experience. The consultant’s view was that
MOJO were not sufficiently well-developed as an organisation to provide the type
of service envisaged.

NACAB
5.6 The National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux provides information and
advice to around 6 million people each year in England and Wales. Advice and
assistance provided to clients concerns (amongst other things) issues such as
social security benefits, debt and money management, poverty, housing,
homelessness, employment, help with personal relationships, health services,
taxes, consumer issues and the administration of justice. The service is delivered
via a network of independent CABx across England and Wales providing almost
2000 outlets in total. The advice is provided free of charge to the client,
confidentially, impartially, and independently of any other organisation.

5.7 The consultant noted that NACAB has considerable experience in operating
services within the legal system. More than 300 bureaux have secured specialist
contracts for the delivery of advice in a range of subjects on behalf of the Legal
Services Commission. The CAB Quality Assurance Scheme is convergent with
the requirements of the Community Legal Service Quality Mark, the only
organisation to have achieved this to date. In addition, a number of bureaux
operate services within the Court system, such as at the Royal Courts of Justice, or
the County Court. A number of bureaux run services within the Prison Service and
in other secure institutions (e.g. Ashworth Hospital) and there are funded
arrangements in most shire counties for referral of clients from the Probation
Service.

5.8 The consultant also noted the existence of the Bureau operating from premises
within the Royal Courts of Justice and the Principal Registry of the Family Courts
Division in London. The Bureau was established in 1978 on the initiative of the
Lord Chancellor, who recognised a pressing need for the assistance of litigants in
person in the Royal Courts of Justice, many of whom were below Legal Aid
financial limits and could not afford a solicitor. The Bureau is funded by the Lord
Chancellors Department and is run by a management group drawn from a cross-
section of participants and sponsors including the judiciary, London law firms,
and the Law Society. The Bureau is a member of the National Association of
Citizens Advice Bureaux.

5.9 During discussions which took place as part of the scoping study, NACAB
expressed an interest in providing an advice service for the group in question. It
submitted a project proposal (referred to above and included by the consultant as
an annex to his report). The consultant’s view was that NACAB as an organisation
has the necessary skills, expertise and infrastructure to provide a service and also
has the advantage of a national network of local bureaux to which local
befriending volunteers could be attached. NACAB has extensive knowledge and
experience in helping disadvantaged people penetrate the complexities of housing
provision, benefits, health care, etc., and of advising on budgeting and money
management.

5.10 The consultant’s view was that, of the voluntary sector organisations
considered as potential service providers, NACAB were best placed to meet the
project requirements and to provide the necessary coverage and levels of support
envisaged for those who are released on successful appeal.

6 Evaluation of the Project Proposals

6.1 The proposal put forward by NACAB was submitted to Mr Shore during the
course of the scoping study work and formed part of his final report to the
working group in January 2001. No other proposals were submitted to the
consultant during the scoping work. However, one further proposal was received
by Home Office Ministers in April 2001. This was submitted by Mr John Kamara,
on behalf of an organisation called “Life After Life”. A brief summary of the
evaluation of the NACAB and the Life After Life proposals against the working
group’s original project requirements is set out below.

The NACAB Project Proposal


6.2 The proposal explains the general context in which the Citizens Advice Bureaux
(CAB) Service operates, details the general advice and legal work service which is
available, and explains the role of the Bureau based in the Royal Courts of Justice.
A copy of the full, costed, project proposal and suggested implementation plan has
been submitted to Ministers for consideration along with this report.

6.3 NACAB is proposing to provide the full range of CAB services to appellants
against conviction. This will include carrying out visits and one-to-one interviews
with individuals in their prison location; providing support during the appeal
hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London; and providing post-release
advice and support for a follow-through period whilst the individual reintegrates
into society.

6.4 The proposal notes that people in situations such as these will not only feel
potentially bitter, angry and confused, but will also have a range of practical
needs, e.g. benefit or employment income on which to live, accommodation,
reconnection with their family and friends and reintroduction to the National
Insurance and tax system. NACAB states that the CAB Service has the proven
detailed knowledge and experience to provide effective help with all these issues.

6.5 NACAB is proposing to employ two specialist advisers and one full-time
administrator. These staff would be based at the Bureau within the Royal Courts
of Justice and would be managed by the Bureau Manager. They would undertake
the face-to-face support at the hearing and immediately thereafter and would work
with existing staff and volunteers in their network of bureaux nationally, to
provide the advice and support service on an on-going basis.

6.6 The estimated cost of the NACAB proposal is around £75,000 in a full year,
including start-up, staffing and equipment costs.

The Life after Life proposal


6.7 Life After Life is the organisation set up by Mr John Kamara, who was himself
wrongfully convicted and spent nearly 20 years in prison before being released on
appeal. During the course of the work on the scoping study the consultant spoke
with Mr Kamara as an individual affected by a miscarriage of justice (at the time the
work was undertaken he was not aware of “Life after Life” as it did not exist at that
time as a distinct organisation). Mr Kamara expressed an interest, during his
discussion with Mr Shore, in the Home Office proposals for an advice service and
subsequently8 submitted his own proposals for a service. A copy of the Life After
Life proposal has also been submitted to Ministers for consideration along with
this report.

6.8 Although unsolicited9, the Life after Life proposal was nevertheless assessed
against the working group’s original project specifications. The proposals are
based upon (i) the acquisition, maintenance and staffing of residential
accommodation for up to six individuals on a short-stay (6 months) or longer-term
(unspecified) basis, and (ii) establishing a fully staffed outreach office within the
residential premises which would liaise with a nationwide support network to

8 In April 2001.
9 No proposals were formally invited by the Home Office. The initial proposals from both NACAB and Mr Kamara’s
organisation were both unsolicited. The NACAB proposals were submitted to the consultant during the period in which he was
undertaking the scoping work and the Life After Life proposals were submitted to Home Office Ministers after receipt of the
final scoping study report.
provide telephone advice and outreach representation in respect of housing,
welfare rights and any other practical and emotional support.

6.9 Life After Life proposes that the specific needs of residents would be provided for
by on-site key workers who would contact the outreach office who would then
access or provide referrals to specialist services on behalf of the resident.

6.10 The Life After Life proposals envisage a total staffing complement of 13 (1
project manager, 1 deputy manager, 7 project support workers, 1 case worker, a
liaison officer, 1 person to provide administrative support and a cleaner for the
residential accommodation). The project would be overseen by a steering group,
headed by Mr Kamara.

6.11 The estimated cost of the Life After Life proposals are around £250,000 for
staffing in a full year (excluding cleaning services), plus the annual cost of the
residential accommodation (rental or mortgage repayments), plus one-off start-up
costs (computers, a project vehicle and domestic equipment and furnishing costs
for the accommodation) plus annual utilities and general office running costs, plus
the ongoing costs of buying in specialist services for residents. The Life After Life
proposals detailed the anticipated salary costs for the project staff but otherwise
did not contain estimates for other costs associated with the project.

7 Consideration of the Findings of the Scoping Study Report

7.1 The working group reviewed Mr Shore’s report in January 2001 and accepted that
it provided a deliverable blueprint for the establishment of an advice and
information service for released prisoners who had successfully appealed against
conviction. However, the group also noted that considerable additional work was
required before a clear, final service requirement could be agreed. This was
largely in recognition of the fact that the report described a “market” which was
very immature. In light of the consultant’s report, the group concluded that the
most effective way forward would be to work with an existing potential provider
to develop proposals and to test those proposals during a limited pilot exercise.

7.2 On the evidence of the consultant’s report and the working group’s assessment of
the proposals submitted by NACAB and by Life After Life, the group concluded
that NACAB was best placed to meet the project requirements. The “Life after
Life” proposal was assessed against the project specification but, on the basis of
the documentation submitted in April 2001 (which advocated a service based
around residential accommodation and full-time one-to-one case working with
links to an outreach office), the group considered it to be outside the scope of the
proposed service in terms of fundamental design and the cost.

7.3 On that basis, representatives of NACAB were invited to attend the February 2001
meeting of the Home Office working group to present their project proposal and to
discuss the proposed service. They were subsequently invited to submit a more
detailed project proposal for consideration by the group10.

10 NACAB’s initial outline proposals were first considered in September 2001 and subsequent versions were considered in
December 2001 and in January 2002. NACAB received no funding from the Home Office for development of the project
proposals.
7.4 No other organisations were invited to present proposals to the working group.
This was due to the lack of any alternative suitable service provider being able to
provide equivalent levels of support on a national basis within the available
resources.

8 Additional arrangements for the advice service

8.1 In addition to the findings in relation to the front-line delivery of the advice
service, the scoping study report also suggested that there should be some form of
advisory group or steering group to oversee the project during its initial phase (the
working group has taken this to be the first twelve months of operation). The
NACAB proposal includes provision for a steering group and it has been agreed
that Home Officials officials will have a seat on any steering group.

8.2 The working group has additionally considered how best the interests of
organisations such as MOJO, Life after Life and The National Federation of Irish
Societies might be taken into account. More specifically, the group wanted to
ensure that their individual insight into the situation of those wrongfully convicted
and collective experience and knowledge could be drawn upon to inform future
development of the service. The group agreed that, once Ministerial decisions had
been taken about the initial phase of the project, there should be consultation with
interested groups about the extent and nature of the input from interested parties.

9 Timing and Implementation

9.1 NACAB have produced and submitted a draft implementation plan for their
proposed advice service. This envisages (subject to Ministerial approval for the
project) that they would require three months to establish the necessary internal
management structures, to undertake recruitment and training of project staff, to
set up the infrastructure (including accommodation and equipment), and to
publicise the availability of the service.

9.2 This would be followed by a further three-month period in which the first cases
would be referred to the service. Although the service would be operational during
this period, project staff would continue to undergo further induction and in-depth
training and plans would be developed and agreed for a formal project launch.
During this period a network of CAB workers would be established and they
would also receive training.

9.3 At the end of the first six month period the project will be formally reviewed and
any service improvements will be made in the light of experience of the first
tranche of cases.

10 Funding the proposed project

10.1 Funding for the project was made available in principle by Home Office
Ministers in April 2000. It is envisaged that the service will be run initially as a
pilot project for a period of twelve months and that staffing levels will be at the
level suggested in the scoping study report. At this point there will be an
evaluation of the first year’s operations.

10.2 The intention is to fund the pilot project through grant or grant in aid, rather
than as a contracted service for which the Home Office would undertake a formal
procurement. Therefore no formal procurement or contracting process for the
proposed pilot service has been undertaken and no formal contract will be
awarded. The decision to fund the proposed pilot service in this way does not
preclude a formal procurement exercise for future service provision in the light of
the results of evaluation of the pilot service.

10.3 The proposed pilot project is expected to cost between £75,000 - £100,000 in
the first year of operation. This estimate includes the costs of staff salaries and
associated costs, office costs, and capital equipment. Accommodation costs are
effectively met by the Court Service, which provides the Bureau at the RCJ with
accommodation, lighting and telephone service free of charge.

10.4 We anticipate that the running costs in years two and three will be of a similar
amount but, clearly, this may be reviewed in the light of experience.

11 Arrangements for Monitoring & Evaluation

11.1 It is anticipated that the pilot project will be continuously monitored and that
limited evaluation will take place on a quarterly basis by NACAB’s own Board of
Trustees and by the Project Steering Group.

11.2 The aims of the monitoring and evaluation will be to establish whether the
specified levels and quality of service are being delivered, to assess the level of
current and likely future demand and the financial viability and control of the
service in the future. Decisions can be made about adjustments or enhancements
to the service in light of this information.

11.3 It is expected that the Home Office will receive regular progress reports,
together with an Annual Report and audited accounts for the project. These reports
may also be made available to project partners and other interested parties.

12 Conclusions and Recommendations

12.1 The Home Office working group has considered the information and findings
in the independent consultant’s scoping study report. The group has noted, fully
considered and accepts the suggestions therein and is grateful to Mr Shore for the
thorough work he has undertaken in relation to this issue.

12.2 The group has concluded that the report provides a solid basis upon which to
build and deliver an advice/support service for those who have been released on
successful appeal against conviction. The group accepts the suggestion that the
National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux (NACAB) are currently best
placed within the voluntary sector to provide the required service.
12.3 After careful consideration of the proposals received, the group has agreed to
adopt, at least during the pilot phase of the project, the service delivery model
outlined in the NACAB proposal. This delivery model will be reviewed in the
light of information from the monitoring and evaluation of the project.

12.4 The group also concluded that there are a number of related issues raised
within the scoping study report to which further detailed consideration should be
given and will be making recommendations to Ministers separately on these
matters.

Recommendations

The working group recommends that:

Ø An advice and support service should be established to assist individuals who


are released after successful appeal against conviction;

Ø The service should be run as a pilot project, initially for a period of twelve
months but with an option to extend for a further period in the light of
results from the monitoring and evaluation reports;

Ø The National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux (NACAB) should be


invited to deliver the advice service during the pilot phase in line with the
project proposals submitted during the scoping study and that the Home
Office should provide project funding for this purpose; and

Ø Further consideration should be given to


Ø the mechanisms through which individuals and organisations
with an interest in this area might provide input to the future
development of services in this area and
Ø such other matters as appear to the group to contribute to
effective service delivery for this group.

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