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Pact and Time for Families to Merge

Re-offending rates are significantly reduced when a prisoner returns to a stable family environment. In order to better facilitate this, the two charities Pact (the Prison Advice and Care Trust) and Time for Families have announced that they are joining forces. This will create an organisation that can meet the needs of prisoners’ families and strengthen family relationships, which will help prisoners avoid re-offending.

Ministry of Justice research shows a 10% reduction in the likelihood of re-offending when a prisoner and their partner attend “Building Stronger Families”, a programme pioneered by Time for Families.Pact is known for a range of services and programmes, including prison visits support services, resettlement schemes, the JustPeople volunteering programme, and Integrated Family Support: a casework service which has shown a social return on investment of £11.40 for every £1 of public money spent.

The trustees and Chief Executives of the two charities have agreed to work closely together over the coming months to fully unite the two charities’ staff, volunteers, services and programmes.

The Boards of the two charities have made the following joint statement:

‘We have a shared sense of charitable mission, underpinning the work of the two charities, which we believe will be strengthened and enhanced by joining forces.Both charities support people who have offended, and their families, to build stronger relationships, so that they can make a fresh start together.We have a strong shared ethos, and a belief, supported by evidence and experience, that strong family relationships are the key to reducing re-offending, because support from a trusted person gives a sense of hope for the future, a home, and the chance of holding down a steady job. By coming together, we can provide an enhanced service and achieve even greater outcomes than we have independently. We would like to thank all our staff, volunteers, supporters and friends, for their support.’

Commenting on the merger, Former Chief Inspector of Prisons, and Pact Ambassador, Lord David Ramsbotham said ‘‘I warmly welcome this news, which I think is an exciting opportunity to bring together the expertise, the tried and tested programmes, and the talented vocational people of two outstanding charities.’

The Chief Executive of Pact, Andy Keen-Downs, will lead the combined charity, which will honour all outstanding commitments and continue to deliver the full range of Pact and Time for Families services, whilst also continuing to innovate and develop.

Simon Pellew OBE, Chief Executive of Time for Families, and Andy Keen-Downs, have issued a joint statement on the plans:

‘Building stronger families is the single most effective means whereby we as a Society can reduce re-offending and the risk of young people drifting into anti-socialbehaviour. Together, Pact and Time for Families offer an unparalleled level of expertise and experience, and a range of evaluated services and interventions to enable offenders and their partners, parents, and children to build stronger relationships.Rather than competing for scarce resources, we have come together to deliver a strategic response to the needs of offenders and their families, and to the Government’s challenge of a Rehabilitation Revolution.’

Notes for Editors

The two charities currently deliver services at over 30 prisons across England and Wales, including High Security, Cat B Local, C Cat, YOI and Women’s prisons.

Time for Families is best known for its two relationship programmes, ‘Building Stronger Families’ which is a course for couples affected by imprisonment, and ‘Building Bridges’, a course for young offenders and their parent (s).Recent evaluation carried out with the Ministry of Justice showed a 10% reducing in re-offending by those attending the course compared to those with similar offending profiles.For further information please visit the Time for Families website.

Pact incorporated the Kids VIP charity in May 2012, which resulted in the creation of the Time to Connect parenting education programme, and the development of a five module skills for justice approved practitioner training programme for those working in prisons or with offenders in the community.

The process of combining the two charities is being supported by the Centre for Charity Effectiveness, which is based at Cass Business School, thanks to the financial support of the Pilgrim Trust.

For further information contact Alex Carter, Pact Communications Officer, at 0207 7359535 or email alex.carter@prisonadvice.org.uk

Andy Keen-Downs is available for interview.