Strengthening Third Sector Engagement with Prisons

Third sector organisations deliver a range of support and services in prisons as well as to people in the community before they enter and after they return from prison.

Third sector national engagement with SPS

At a national level, SPS works with the Criminal Justice Voluntary Sector Forum (CJVSF) to facilitate third sector engagement around strategic issues and tackle shared challenges.   This engagement includes:

  • CJVSF participation in SPS working groups
  • Regular meetings between CJVSF and SPS
  • Jointly facilitated discussion events on topics of shared interest
  • Undertaking joint pieces of strategic work
  • Work to ensure the structures and processes for third sector engagement are in place and strengthened.

Third sector local involvement with Scottish prisons

Third sector organisations wishing to deliver services in Scottish prisons should contact the Head of Offender Outcomes at the relevant establishment in the first instance to explore opportunities for service delivery.

CJVSF has worked with the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) and other partners to develop a template prison Partnership Agreement to support collaborative working between SPS and third sector organisations delivering independently funded services in Scottish prisons.

The purpose of the Partnership Agreement is to:

  • provide a structured set of questions to prompt discussion about potential new services
  • capture the agreed actions from both SPS and the external partner in relation to what is required to deliver the service successfully (having this in place can be particularly important when staff move on to new roles)
  • improve data collection to inform the design and delivery of services across the prison estate
  • give funders confidence to fund services where there is an identified need for the service.

When should the Partnership Agreements be used?

This Partnership Agreement applies to third sector organisations that are seeking to deliver services in prisons which are independently funded (i.e. are not funded by the SPS or other statutory bodies).  The Partnership Agreement needs to be fully completed where a third sector organisation has secured funding to deliver services for those in and leaving SPS’s care.

The Partnership Agreements do not apply to:

  • Services that are procured by SPS
  • Services that are procured by other statutory bodies
  • Prison Visitor Centres  (Third Sector organisations that are located within Prison Visitor Centres and delivering services across the secure line should complete a Partnership Agreement)
  • Services that are not delivered by third sector organisations.

These services are commonly funded by the delivery organisation or by independent trusts and foundations.  The funding landscape is complex and may require different approaches, depending on individual funder’s requirements.  Please click here to read SPS’s corporate position on working with the third sector under different funding arrangements.

The following resources have been developed to support the use of the Agreements and are available to download from the SPS Partnership Working page:

  • Review documentation
  • Information Sharing Agreement Template
  • Consent form Template

If you have any questions about the Packs, please contact us.