Employment Advisory Boards (EABs) are a fantastic new initiative fully backed by the Ministry of Justice. This scheme aims to harness the power of local business leaders, working in partnership with prison governors, to create employment opportunities for prison leavers. With the goal of creating a new EAB for every prison in the country that releases people back into the community, this vital programme supports people as they rebuild their lives on release—and it helps reduce reoffending rates.
“The combination of high demand in the labour market—due to factors including Brexit and the pandemic—with an increased willingness amongst employers to consider non-traditional recruitment pathways presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the opportunities available to prison-leavers,” says Amy, one of Tap Social’s directors and co-founders. “For this reason the EAB scheme could not be more timely.”
Tap Social Movement has worked in this space in Oxfordshire and the surrounding area for the last six years, so we are delighted that Amy and Paul—another of our directors and co-founders—have been invited to take up places on the EAB at HMP Bullingdon and HMP Spring Hill prisons, respectively. They were also delighted to attend the inaugural EAB conference hosted by the brilliant Timpson Foundation on 29 April in Manchester.
EAB members, prison governors from across the UK, and other leading figures from Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and the New Futures Network attended the event. It was a great first chance to collectively share early success stories and ideas on best practices for an issue at the core of Tap Social’s mission.
Amy and Paul were particularly happy to hear Minister of State for Prisons and Probation Victoria Atkins MP say that improving employment outcomes for prison leavers is a priority in the current government’s policy on reducing reoffending.
“The ESB at HMP Bullingdon is just getting started, but we have already had a highly positive initial meeting,” says Paul. “We look forward to working closely with the prison governor and her team to build on the excellent work already going on at Bullingdon to get prison-leavers work ready and match them to appropriate and sustainable jobs.”