The role of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland is to lead in the reduction of re-offending by tackling the root causes of offending and rehabilitating people. In order to do this effectively Probation aims to work with a range of partners across the justice system, wider government and the community and voluntary sectors.
Probation are now seeking the public and stakeholder views to help us shape the future of probation services in NI through a public consultation. We want to hear from communities and stakeholders about the services that are being delivered and what more we can do together to reduce re-offending and the number of victims of crime.
As part of this consultation senior partners were brought together in a seminar on 27 September to look at how we can work collaboratively to improve outcomes in communities.
Speakers at the seminar included David Sterling, Head of the Civil Service, Simon Byrne, Chief Constable and Phil Bowen, Director of the Centre for Justice Innovation.
Chair of Probation Dale Ashford commented: “This truly unique opportunity for justice organisations like Probation brought together leaders from across NI to look at how we can be innovative and collaborative to reduce re-offending and reduce the number of victims. Tackling the root causes of offending behaviour necessitates collaboration with a range of agencies and organisations including Departments of Education, Communities and Health. This seminar provided us with an opportunity to take stock of what we are doing and look at new ways of working to make communities safer. “
Chief Executive of Probation Cheryl Lamont added: “There are a range of socio-economic factors which have been shown to have an impact on re-offending, including poverty and social deprivation, homelessness, and a lack of educational attainment and employment opportunities. Indeed 76% of people under probation supervision have an alcohol or drug related problem. Likewise, there are high numbers of people assessed as having mental health issues.
We know that the issues of addictions cannot be tackled by justice agencies alone. Health and education have a key role to play. We therefore brought together leaders from Education, Health, Justice and Communities together to consolidate and build more networks and partnership and at a strategic level look at how PBNI and others in justice can effectively work to enhance wellbeing across communities.”
9.30am Registration/ Tea and Coffee
10:00am Welcome from Paul Frew MLA
10:05am Introduction from Probation Board Chair Dale Ashford
10:15am 1st Key Note Speaker Head of Civil Service David Sterling
10.35am Panel Discussion with Permanent Secretaries and 1st key note speaker – Collaborative Work to Achieve Better Outcomes
11.35am Cheryl Lamont, Probation Chief Executive – Probation’s Role in problem solving to achieve better outcomes
11.50pm 2nd Key Note Speaker Simon Byrne, PSNI Chief Constable
12.00pm 3rd Key Note Speaker Phil Bowen, Director of Centre for Justice Innovation
12:30 pm Close