At Clinks, an important part of our work is the Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group – which we shorten to “RR3”. The group is one of the key ways that we support our members to influence officials on prison and probation policy, by providing a forum for senior leaders from the voluntary sector to comment on the Ministry of Justice’s work. The RR3 is a useful way for the voluntary sector to influence policy and hold officials to account.
All of Clinks’ members can engage with the work of the RR3 even if they don’t sit on the group. In this blog, we will explore the key functions of the RR3, what it seeks to achieve, its makeup and ways that you can get involved.
What is the RR3?
The RR3 was set up by the Ministry of Justice in partnership with Clinks with the aim of building a strong and effective relationship between the voluntary sector and the Ministry of Justice.
The group is made up of senior experts from the voluntary sector and comes together with civil servants each quarter to provide guidance and feedback on Ministry of Justice policy developments. The group is chaired by Clinks, and representatives from the Third Sector and Grants Programme Team and HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) attend the group permanently.
What does the RR3 do?
The role of the group is to:
- Strengthen the partnership between the Ministry of Justice and the voluntary sector in order to reduce re-offending
- Establish a way in which the relationship between the Ministry of Justice and the voluntary sector might be monitored
- Advise on how policies are developed and implemented
- Provide advice and feedback on the development of commissioning strategies and practice
- Identify gaps in the provision of services and recommend how these might be filled
The group works to an agreed work plan which identifies priority areas and the group’s main objectives and planned activity for each priority area. For instance, our new 2023/24 workplan will focus on racially minoritised people, women, commissioning and procurement, reducing the prison population, health, and older people in prison. We look forward to sharing the workplan in due course.
As well as meeting each quarter, the RR3 can also convene time-limited Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to explore certain topics in more depth. These groups are sponsored by a member of the RR3 in response to issues raised by the Ministry of Justice, HMPPS or the sector. Clinks recruits additional members with expertise of the topic for these groups from the sector. The RR3 is currently running a SIG on Future Regime Design, advising HMPPS as they develop a new National Regime Model for prisons. In the meetings, HMPPS has sought feedback from the voluntary sector on its role in the new regime model. All notes from SIGs are published on the Clinks website.
You can find all RR3-related publications through the resources search page here. Just click ‘Type’ and select ‘reducing reoffending third sector advisory group document’ from the dropdown list.
How do seat specialisms work?
Each seat on the RR3 has a specialism attached to it, which requires knowledge of thematic areas such as mental health, substance misuse, or women, as well as seats representing the size of voluntary sector organisations. Members are recruited based on their individual experience of service delivery and policy expertise and sit on the group as representatives of the sector rather than the organisation they work for. See the list of current members and their specialisms here.
Members can use their role in the RR3 to reach out to the sector to gather their views about the policies scrutinised in meetings, as well as using their thematic knowledge. Vicki Markiewicz is the Executive Director of Operations for Change Grow Live, and currently holds the substance misuse seat. Speaking on how she involves the wider sector in her contribution to the RR3, Vicki said:
“When I was appointed into the substance misuse seat, I was mindful that I was appointed due to my specialism and to represent the substance misuse sector, not as a representative of my organisation. On this basis, I reached out to Collective Voice (an organisation working to improve drug and alcohol treatment and recovery systems) colleagues and asked if they could support me to set up a sub-group with representatives from the voluntary sector who provide substance misuse services in the criminal justice system. This approach has served me well and as a result, I am able to represent, at the RR3, diverse views from across the sector on particular topics related to drugs policy and substance misuse service delivery in the criminal justice system.”
How can I get involved?
There are several ways we encourage wider voluntary sector members to get involved with the RR3:
- Read through the quarterly meeting minutes. A key value of the RR3 is transparency. The minutes are therefore published on the Clinks website each following meeting. Read them here.
- Suggest agenda items. Reach out to the Clinks policy team with any policy developments you would like to hear further discussion on. Email us here.
- Feed into agenda items. The quarterly meeting agenda will be finalised at least one week ahead of a meeting, and specific agenda items will be published in Clinks’ monthly Policy briefings or through Light Lunch. We encourage members to reach out to RR3 secretariat, Bronte Jack, with your thoughts or any key questions on relevant policy issues that you feel should be directed towards the Ministry of Justice. Email Bronte here.
- Get in touch with individual RR3 members. This person will be a senior leader in a voluntary organisation providing specific expertise to the RR3 in relation to their seat specialism. See the list of current members and their specialisms here. If your organisation works in a similar specialist area of service delivery, advocacy, advice, or guidance, we encourage you to vocalise your thoughts around policy developments to an RR3 member. To connect with an RR3 member email Bronte here.
- Look out for Special Interest Group engagement opportunities. News about recruitment to RR3 Special Interest Groups will go out through Clinks’ Light Lunch newsletter and monthly Policy Briefing. Subscribe here.
If you would like to discuss any specific areas of the group’s work or how you can engage with the group’s activities, please contact mailto:email@example.com
Latest on Twitter
.@hibiscuscharity have launched a report - funded by Clinks - which explores the complex issues faced by Black, minoritised and migrant women in contact with the CJS and the resulting impacts on their mental health.
Read the report here: https://hibiscusinitiatives.org.uk/media/2023/06/rmc-mental-health-report-document.pdf