Leading businesses already benefitting from recruiting people from prison, including Timpson, Greene King & Greggs shared their experience, advice and knowledge.
The government’s commitment to reducing re-offending and supporting the economy to Build Back Better was amplified by the Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab.
Join our headline session to discover how and why businesses and government departments are providing work and employment opportunities to prisoners and prison leavers. We will hear an interview with a former prisoner who now works for COOK, followed by a business panel discussion.
Chair: Duncan O’Leary (New Futures Network)
Keynote speaker: The Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP (Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice and Deputy Prime Minister)
Speakers: Annie Gale (COOK), John Daynes (COOK), Bhavina Bharkhada (Make UK), Darren Burns (Timpson) and Andrew Ashworth (GFiE)
Find out how recruiting prison leavers can increase the diversity of your workforce. Some businesses have created their own programmes specifically for recruiting and supporting people from marginalised groups, including prison leavers.
Chair: Surini Ranawake (New Futures Network)
Speakers: Annie Gale (COOK), Michelle McSorley (Wates), Mo Bangura (Wates), Nicola Inge (Business in the Community) and Lynne Kennedy (Greene King)
This session will leave you feeling more informed about the processes around employing someone from prison, including bank accounts, accommodation, how ROTL (Release On Temporary License) works, identifying potential candidates before release and background checks.
Chair: James Palmer (New Futures Network)
Speakers: Gareth Swain (SUEZ), Babafemi Dada (HMP Gartree), Helen Dyson (Nacro) and Alistair Donaghey (Willmott Dixon)
82% of people think that businesses that employ ex-offenders are making a positive contribution to society. This workshop will see employers share the difference they have made to their business, people’s lives and wider society by recruiting from prison.
Chair: Christine Fisk (New Futures Network)
Speakers: Darren Burns (Timpson), Stacey Shallcross (Timpson), James Knox (Ricoh UK), Roisin Currie (Greggs) and Stephen Simpson (Cidon)
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice and Deputy Prime Minister
Dominic Raab was appointed Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor, and Secretary of State for Justice on 15 September 2021. He was first elected Conservative MP for Esher and Walton in May 2010.
Civil Service Commission, Head of Going Forward into Employment
I lead a scheme across the civil service which provides opportunities for employment, removing barriers for those who would find it difficult to compete without additional help and support. Our scheme is helping the civil service lead by example in the recruitment of 500 prison leavers by Dec 2023 and is also open to care leavers, homeless and veterans.
Timpson Group, National Recruitment Ambassador
Darren is the National Recruitment Ambassador for the Timpson Group. He specialises in both the recruitment and retention of ex-offenders and others who face barriers to employment. Darren also fosters relationships with many UK prisons and organisations such as police and probation services. He also managers the Timpson prison training academies and has responsibility for overseeing the transition from custody and into the workplace.
HMP Gartree, Governor
Babafemi has worked in nine different prisons since his career in the prison service began almost 30 years ago. He worked his way up to deputy governor and then acting governor of HMP Young Offender Institution Drake Hall, becoming the first black prison governor in the country. Babafemi is currently the governor at HMP Gartree.
Greggs, People and Retail Operations Director
Roisin joined Greggs, the UK’s leading bakery food-on-the-go retailer in the UK as People Director in 2010 and combined retail operations with her existing remit in 2017 to become People and Retail Operations Director. She is responsible for all of the traditional HR areas of expertise and all of the shop operations. Roisin chairs the leadership forum for reducing re-offending and is very active in the employment of prison leavers.
COOK, Head of RAW Talent and Apprenticeships
I care deeply about good results, good values and good communication. I believe in people’s potential – whatever their past – to do a fantastic job. I oversee our ‘RAW Talent’ programme at COOK, supporting people from prison, homelessness, addiction, mental ill health into meaningful, sustainable work. I am also responsible for our apprenticeships. I’m a qualified Executive Coach, trainer, facilitator, and speaker. Love people. Hate waste.
COOK, RAW Talent Advocate
I have spent years in prison, been addicted to drugs and had two murder attempts on my life! I was in a bad place and needed change fast. COOK employed me 7 years ago and gave me that second chance and I have not looked back since! I was a Mix&Weigh chef for 4 years and then a Prep Chef for just over 1 year. My current role as Raw Talent Advocate involves recruiting people with challenging backgrounds (including prison leavers) and offering them extra support as they begin their careers.
Make UK, Head of Policy & Campaigns
Bhavina is Head of Policy & Campaigns at Make UK, the Manufacturers’ Association, representing 20,000 manufacturers across the UK. She leads Make UK's policy campaigns, supporting manufacturers to build a green, global, and digital future, and influencing Government to back manufacturing. She works closely with the Director of Policy to develop and lead Make UK’s policy advocacy work, cutting across different areas including skills, infrastructure and levelling up.
SUEZ, Regional Manager
Gareth is the Regional Manager for Surrey. He has worked for SUEZ since 2005 and is responsible for delivering a safe service and work environment for the team and the residents of Surrey who visit their facilities. Gareth works closely with Surrey County Council to deliver the service they require as well as making sure SUEZ’ sites are fully compliant with their operational permits and legal requirements.
New Futures Network, CEO
Duncan is CEO of New Futures Network (NFN), a specialist part of the prison service that brokers partnerships between prisons and employers. Over half of employers struggle to fill vacancies due to skills shortages. Prisoners and ex-offenders have a wide range of skills to suit almost any sector, making them ideal job-ready candidates.
New Futures Network, Head of Employment Outcomes
Surini is responsible for external engagement, including advisory and reporting to Ministers; and manages discreet projects related to the work of New Futures Network. She is the Prisoner Banking Programme lead for HMPPS – a provision that enables serving prisoners apply for a bank account to use on release. Before joining NFN, Surini worked for the Ministry of Justice, Cabinet Office and in the charity sector.
Nacro, Director of Justice & Health and Business Development
Helen began her career working in Youth Offending and joined Nacro in October 2013 where she continued in this space as a regional lead managing young people's custodial resettlement services, gang exit services and prevention services in London. Helen currently holds strategic responsibility for Nacro’s Justice & Health work along with responsibility for winning new and retendered business in her role as Director of Justice & Health and Business Development.
Ricoh UK, ESG Manager - Corporate Responsibility
James has six years of policing under his belt, gaining an understanding of offender behaviours, types of offences and importantly why it often is the only option. Now with six years in the private sector James leads campaigns ensuring the responsible operating and growth of Ricoh UK by working with prisons, charities and non-profit organisations in order to help both those with convictions into employment.
Greene King, Talent Development Manager
Lynne has worked in hospitality for 35 years and is responsible for expanding Social Mobility programmes at Greene King. The Releasing Potential Programme develops ex-offenders seeking hospitality careers with Greene King. Lynne is passionate about the programme because it provides employment for individuals wanting to reintegrate back into society. Lynne said, “My role is extremely rewarding. I have the opportunity to see individuals transform their lives with hope for brighter future.”
BITC, Employment & Skills Director
Nicola leads Business in the Community’s work across education, employment and skills, including the award-winning Ban the Box campaign. Nicola is responsible for a team driving action from businesses to support disadvantaged learners and jobseekers, remove barriers to work and develop essential skills. She works with BITC’s Employment & Skills Leadership Team to deliver BITC’s strategy in this area. Previously Nicola worked at Crisis, Depaul Trust and Citizens Advice.
Willmott Dixon, Regional Head of Safety, Health & Environment
In his current role, Alistair enjoys working with project teams, empowering people, and giving coaching and guidance. It is his passion for people and drive to make a difference that has helped him set up ‘Ready for the Gate’. The programme at HMP Elmley supports the rehabilitation of residents and equips them with the skills and opportunity to gain employment upon release from prison.
New Futures Network, Sector Lead
Christine Fisk is a national business development manager for New Futures Network (NFN). Christine is responsible for the following sectors: Health & Social Care, Hospitality & Catering, Facilities Management, Laundry and The Arts. Christine works with NFN regional brokers, prison establishments and employers to deliver on three key objectives: expanding training opportunities in prison industries, increasing work placements for prisoners released on temporary licence and improving employment prospects for prison leavers.
Wates, Traffic Marshal
Mo was serving a prison sentence at HMP Ford when he was given the opportunity to work with Wates Residential as part of the Brighter Futures programme between Wates and One Way Resourcing.
Having studied carpentry, bricklaying, drylining, painting and decorating whilst in prison he was able to build on his skills and showed a great work ethic. After completing his sentence he has thrived at Wates and is now a Traffic Marshal.
Wates Residential, Community Investment Team Manager
Michelle is Wates Residential’s Community Investment Team Manager, responsible for the delivery of social value to communities across the south of England.
She has delivered quality services to improve the lives of residents within the communities in which she has worked. She is driven to challenge inequality and believes that everyone has the right to belong in society and to have the opportunity to be employed, focusing on solving social mobility problems and helping individuals such as care leavers, ex-offenders and those living with a disability.
New Futures Network, Senior Employment Manager
James has worked with HMPPS since 2002 where he has spent all his time in the reducing re-offending function. James started out as an instructor after moving on to become Industries Manager and Temporary Head of Reducing Re-offending. James now works as a Senior Employment Manager for New Futures Network where he supports Regional Employment Brokers and manage the logistics sector to increase jobs on ROTL and release for prison leavers.
Timpson Group, Mobile Manager
Stacey is a mobile manager for the Timpson Group. She has been with the business for 7 years and has responsibility for training, planning rotas and ensuring the smooth running of the area. In addition, Stacey acts as an ambassador for the Timpson Foundation and regularly gives her support by talking about her own experiences.
Cidon, Operations Director
Steve Simpson is a Director at Cidon Group and has been with the company nearly 10 years. He has spent over 30 years in the construction industry working throughout the UK. Cidon operate as a specialist contractor in the reinforced concrete sector operating within the building and civil engineering industries. They began working with ex-offenders in 2018 and to date have employed over 25 men.