Clinks’ Offender Health bulletin

In this month’s edition…

New ministers
There have been changes to the ministerial team at the Department of Health following the general election. Jeremy Hunt MP remains as Secretary of State. Jackie Doyle-Price MP has been appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Care and Mental Health and has responsibility for the voluntary sector, and for health in the justice system. Joining her are Philip Dunne MP, Minister of State for Health; Steve Brine MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State- Public Health and Primary Care; and Lord O’Shaughnessy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health. The new Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice is David Liddington MP. Find out more here


Prison Health Forum
WHO Europe with the UK Collaborating Centre for Health in Prisons Programme (hosted by Public Health England) would like to develop a global network to exchange experience, expert advice and promote innovation in addressing health and healthcare inequalities facing people in prison. The Worldwide Prison Health Research & Engagement Network (WEPHREN) is an open access collaborative forum for everyone interested in prison health, aiming to build capacity through research and professional development. Find out more here
Drug strategy
The Government has published its 2017 Drug Strategy which sets out how the government and its partners, at local, national and international levels, will take action to tackle drug misuse and the harms it causes. It has four main aims, which are: reducing demand, restricting supply, building recovery and global action. There is a focus on recovery and integrating meaningful activity into support programmes. Find out more here

Prisoners and families affected by bereavement
Clinks is co-hosting a roundtable with Adfam [8th August, London, free] to identify and discuss key issues around supporting prisoners and family members affected by bereavement. People affected by bereavement in prison may experience ‘disenfranchised grief’, being unable to grieve for their losses in socially acceptable ways. This event will be an opportunity to discuss any work your organisation is currently doing to support people affected by bereavement; identify your support needs in this area and how these might be met, and influence Clinks’ thinking on bereavement. You will also hear from one of Adfam’s peer support volunteers about the work they do supporting people who are bereaved through alcohol or drugs. Find out more and book here


Substance misuse and addiction
Voluntary organisations providing substance misuse services (in prison or the community), or with expertise in substance misuse, are invited to attend a one-off roundtable [11th October, London, free]. The meeting, convened by the Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group, whose chair and secretariat is provided by Clinks, will look at issues such as commissioning, influencing policy and working more closely with prisons. The aim will be to communicate findings to the Ministry of Justice on working effectively with the voluntary sector to address the needs of people with substance misuse issues. To register your interest please provide a few sentences on why you would like to join the roundtable, by 4th August, to

Treating sex offenders
The Ministry of Justice has published the impact evaluation of the prison-based ‘Core Sex Offender Treatment Programme’, a cognitive-behavioural psychological intervention designed by HM Prison and Probation Service. The aim of the research is to extend the evidence base on the effectiveness of treatment for sexual offenders. This study measures the impact of the Programme on the reoffending outcomes of sex offenders in England and Wales, while controlling for the different observable characteristics, needs, and risk factors of participants. The report finds that the programme “is generally associated with little or no changes” in re-offending rates, and either does not reduce sexual reoffending as it intends to do, or the true impact of the programme was not detected. Find out more here


Care not custody
The Care Not Custody Coalition, of which Clinks is a member, has published its latest briefing. The Coalition campaigns for the diversion of people with mental health needs from custody into treatment and care. The briefing explains what each of the members aims to achieve and what their current work in this area covers. For a copy please email


Mental health support
Citizens Advice Bureau has published ‘Mental health support in local communities’, which explores how integrating advice provision into the mental health care package and local services can result in better use of council resources and better support for people with mental health problems. It concludes that it can reduce pressure on local services by stopping people’s practical problems from escalating and building resilience, alongside supporting people into work by removing practical barriers to employment and helping people resolve workplace problems. Find out more here


Adult social care
The Department of Health and Care Quality Commission has published ‘Quality Matters’ as part of an initiative which is aimed at improving adult social care. The document sets out a single view of quality and a commitment to improvement. The summary action plan sets out six priority areas to make progress on improving quality in the first year, including acting on feedback, using data more effectively, commissioning for better outcomes, better support for improvement, and improving the profile of adult social care. Find out more here


Mental health in the UK
‘Surviving or Thriving? The state of the UK’s mental health’ is a report on a survey commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation. Conducted with 2,290 people, it aimed to understand the prevalence of self-reported mental health problems, levels of positive and negative mental health in the population, and the actions people take to deal with the stressors in their lives. Key findings include that 65% of people have experienced a mental health problem, and that people living in lower income brackets are more likely to report poor mental health. Find out more here


First overview of nation’s health
Public Health England (PHE) has published a report on the health of the population in England. The ‘Health Profile for England’ report is the first time PHE has used its population health data to give an overall picture of the health of England. It finds that people are living longer but much of the extra time is spent in poor health, with the two biggest risk factors behind levels of ill health being excess weight and high blood sugar. Duncan Selbie Chief Executive of PHE says “The more we consider the impact of all policies on population health, the sooner we can focus on preventing poor health instead of only dealing with its consequences, especially for those from the most deprived communities.” Find out more here


State of care in mental health services
The Care Quality Commission has published ‘The state of care in mental health services 2014 to 2017’, the findings from their programme of inspections of specialist mental health services. The report finds that services are under a number of significant pressures and challenges, and identifies several areas of concern: safety of services, the persistence of restrictive practice, access and waiting times, and poor clinical information systems. 80% of forensic inpatient and secure wards inspected were rated as good or outstanding, although safety and staffing levels were a cause for concern at some services. Read the report here



Alcohol research
Alcohol Research UK’s Small Grants programme offers grants for exploratory projects that address emerging issues in alcohol research, employ novel theoretical or methodological approaches, or pilot new work in treatment or service delivery. Grants of up to £8,000 are available for stand-alone projects that last for up to 12 months. Applications are accepted from researchers who are employed in the UK by organisations such as universities, colleges, other academic institutions, local authorities, voluntary organisations, police, probation and health authorities. The deadline for applications is 13th September. Find out more and apply here


Core funding and free training
GSK’s IMPACT Awards reward charities that are doing excellent work to improve people’s health. Organisations must be at least three years old, working in a health-related field in the UK, with income between £80,000 and £2.5 million. Up to 20 awards will be made ranging from £3,000 to £40,000 plus free training valued at up to £6,000. Organisations will also have a film made, receive help with press and publicity and be given a set of promotional materials. The deadline for applications is 20th September. Find out more and apply here

Supporting vulnerable people
Pathway has created the Faculty of Homeless and Inclusion Health (FHIH) to support organisations who see clients with health and homelessness issues, people who are involved in the sex industry, vulnerable migrants, gypsies and travellers. All of these groups face barriers to healthcare. FHIH brings together everyone from doctors, nurses, hostel workers and benefits advisors, to commissioners and researchers and people with lived experience, to help vulnerable people. By sharing information and meeting regularly in hubs across the country they want to ensure everyone can get the healthcare and support that they need. Membership is free. Find out more here


Sexual assault
NHS England has published the ‘What Works; patient and stakeholder engagement for Sexual Assault Referral Centres’ report, following research undertaken into how Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) engage survivors and stakeholders. It is intended to help SARCs collect and share feedback on patient involvement and identifies learning from innovative engagement work in the public and voluntary sectors, as well as from those working with vulnerable and excluded groups.  The report sets out a number of recommendations and identifies policies, tools and practices for service user engagement. To receive a copy, email


Supporting people with addictions
Adfam has published a practitioner’s guide to supporting family members of people with drug or alcohol addictions. ‘Making It Happen’ brings together Adfam’s experience in family support, in consultation with family members, practitioners and commissioners around the country in a best practice guide aimed at commissioners and service managers. Find out more here


Supporting homeless people
Homeless Link has published three new practice guides: ‘Taking action when someone dies while street homeless’; ‘Supporting LGBTQ+ people in homelessness services’; and ‘Supporting Couples’. Each of these guides tackles unique problems for this cohort, and offers practical advice to develop good practice and learn lessons. Find out more here


Fundraising training
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Tracey Crouch MP have launched Government funded fundraising training for small/medium charities. Consisting of online, telephone and face to face options, there are 4,000 learning opportunities on offer until March 2018. The Foundation for Social Improvement will run the programme in partnership with the Small Charities Coalition, Localgiving and the Charities Finance Group. Find out more here


Older prisoners
RECOOP has published two Good Practice guides to meeting the needs of older offenders in prisons and Approved Premises. The guides are based on a project, funded centrally by HM Prison and Probation Service, which was designed to assess the need and ability of prisons and approved premises to adapt their regimes to meet the needs of older offenders, and bring together the best of existing practice and learning from the project. If you would like a copy, please email

Mental health in prisons
In this blog, Clinks Development Officer for Health and Justice, Hazel Alcraft, discusses the National Audit Office’s report into mental health in prisons, and how this could be used as a stepping stone to improve mental health services in prisons. Hazel also writes about the work our members are currently doing to support people with mental health conditions. She writes “Our members already provide a huge range of support for people with mental health needs in prison, from direct mental health interventions, to peer support, preventing mental health problems and promoting mental and emotional wellbeing.” Read the blog here


The voluntary sector role in health care
This blog from Felicity Smith, the National Co-ordinator at FaithAction discusses the importance and impact of the voluntary sector on health and care innovation. Felicity discusses how the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Health and Wellbeing Alliance (HW Alliance) supports communities facing significant health inequalities, and the opportunity for healthcare providers to engage with HW Alliance at the NHS England Expo in September 2017. She writes “The sector has great expertise in a lot of areas and often is able to respond quicker than statutory sectors, coming up with new and innovative ideas to help provide solutions to local and national problems.” Read the blog here


Trauma focused care
This joint blog from Russell Webster and Professor Charlie Brooker summarises ‘Prison mental health in-reach teams, serious mental illness and the Care Programme Approach in England’, an article published in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. It looks at the delivery of prison mental health services in England over the last 12 years, and the formation of the Care Programme Approach (CPA) commissioned by NHS England. The blog states “CPA is extremely important for prisoners with a serious mental illness to ensure that they are released with a care plan so that their care can be picked up immediately by mainstream community mental health services.” Read the blog here

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This regular bulletin provides Clinks members with the latest news for voluntary sector organisations involved in the health and care of offenders. It currently has 5,333 subscribers.

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