Who We Are:
The Corbett Network is a coalition of more than 50 decision-makers of major rehabilitation charities and organisations dedicated to reducing re-offending by supporting people with convictions find and keep a job.
As Networker, Maggie Walsh, CEO of A Fairer Chance puts it: “ After release they need somewhere to live, a job and someone who gives a damn. Well Corbett Networkers and its partner the Robin Corbett Award do give a damn!
The Network Mission
Bridging the gap from custody to community by improving routes to employment
- Engaging with employers from a wide spectrum, many of whom have skill shortages but do not yet consider recruiting people with convictions
- Providing support for self-employment options – back office, mentors etc
- Providing support for entrepreneurial activity – start up grants, route to market, mentors
- Using social networks and media to publicise rehabilitation
Do you believe in second chances?
If you do believe in second chances, you’ll agree that once someone has served their prison sentence, a new start should, and must, be possible. Many ex-offenders are motivated by making up for what they did wrong and often prove to be reliable, hard-working and committed employees. It costs us taxpayers £40,000 to keep one person in prison – every year (Eton costs £35,000). So it makes economic sense to give ex-offenders the chance to change.
We set up the Robin Corbett Award for Re-integration in 2012 to honour Robin Corbett’s legacy in prison reform. Every year we award £10,000 to three charities who do the most to help and support people with convictions. Out of this work evolved The Corbett Network whose members collaborate to help people with convictions find a sustainable job. A better alternative than a prison cell and a chance to change a life because over 50% of those released will re-offend within two years. That figure drops to 19% for those in employment.
The Corbett Centre
for Prison Re-integration
"Prison isn't full of bad people; it's full of people who've done bad things and most need a chance to change."
~ Robin Corbett.
Lady Corbett cut the ribbon on this Grade II listed beautiful building in in Nottingham - the first such centre in the world - on February 13, 2019. It was the brainchild of Professor Belinda Winder (a member of the Corbett Network) and her team who decided there was a need for such a Centre which could help to counsel and support ex-offenders especially sex offenders.
From the press release: “The Corbett Centre in Nottingham is a holistic approach and is the first in the world with the aim to reduce sexual re-offending and re-offending generally. The Centre is a joint initiative by Nottingham Trent University, the Safer Living Foundation (who will run it) and Nottinghamshire Police. It is funded by charitable trusts and companies - and importantly by prisoners themselves and is named after, and dedicated to, Lord Robin Corbett and Lady Val Corbett who have both done so much to help prisoners re-integrate into society and make society a safer place for us all.
“Grateful thanks to everyone who has supported this project - academics, practitioners, volunteers, fund raisers and service users alike. Safer Living Foundation was the winner in the Robin Corbett Award in 2015 and the prize money awarded to them went toward the founding of this Centre.
“And because it is vitally important not to forget the survivors and victims of sexual abuse and other crimes while we work to prevent reoffending, please remember charities like NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood) and NSPCC who always need time and donations to help them deal with the devastating aftermath of sexual abuse.”
The Corbett Network Employer Awards Giving people the chance to change
The Corbett Network Offender Employer Awards
The inaugural Corbett Network Offender Employer Awards will be presented on June 12th 2019 to those employers who go above and beyond in providing meaningful employment opportunities for people with convictions. There will be two awards: one to a large employer and one to an SME.
The inaugural Corbett Network Offender Employer Awards will be presented 12 June 2019 at the Houses of Commons to a large employer and SME (a business with fewer than 250 employees, and a turnover of less than €50 million/£45.12 million).
All Corbett Network members are encouraged to nominate one or more employers for consideration in one or both categories.
- For obvious reasons – an employer cannot nominate itself to receive an award but can nominate another business that it works with, in one or both categories (e.g. a member of its supply chain).
- All nominations should be emailed to Corbett.firstname.lastname@example.org (Microsoft Word document or PDF) by the closing date May 16.
- Corbett Networkers can nominate several companies but each submission for an employer nominated in a specific category should be no more than two sides A4.
- Many employers across a range of sectors are facing chronic skills gaps;
- There has been a huge rise in criminal record checks being carried out by employers since their introduction in 2002 – over 4 million enhanced and standard DBS checks are carried out each year;
- Some employers have often exaggerated fears about recruiting people with convictions;
- There can be a mismatch between an employer’s ‘desired skills’ and perceived skills of ‘typical’ people with convictions;
- A number of surveys indicate that people with convictions have a largely negative reputation among employers with no known experience of working with them;
- Some employers struggle to understand the complex legislation that impacts upon the employment of people with convictions;
- Some employers often lack the confidence and tools they would like or need to make an informed decision about a candidate with a criminal record;
- A number of employers indicated they need practical guidance, operational support and training and policy support on understanding legal obligations and managing risk to effectively tap into this unique talent pool;
- A number of excluded groups (e.g. BAME, Care leavers) are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system;
- A joint legal briefing produced by Nacro and Dominic Headley & Associates (DHA) in August 2018 outlines that the key principles of ‘Ban the Box’ are now enshrined in law by the changes to data protection legislation.
However, a large number of employers large and small have recognised the very many positive benefits that people with convictions can bring to their business and have managed to successfully navigate any perceived challenges that recruiting people with convictions might represent.
Some have open recruitment policies and practices, some have created dedicated programmes or vacancies, some have put in place a range of mentoring/support initiatives so that people with convictions can continue to rebuild their lives while sustaining employment opportunities.
Nomination Criteria Guidelines
Corbett Network members who wish to nominate employers should outline how the employer(s) go above and beyond when providing opportunities to people with convictions.
Other than the requirement to submit your nomination in Microsoft Word or PDF, we are not prescriptive as to how you demonstrate your employer(s) are suitable for the award, but the Judging Panel will be assessing each nomination against the criteria below. Please note: CN members can nominate any number of businesses in each category.
Please note - We will apply the same criteria to nominations for both awards (Corporate Employer of the Year and SME Employer of the Year).
Inclusive Recruitment Practices: What is the employer doing, to create fair opportunities for people with convictions to compete for jobs within their organisation
Employability Initiatives: Aside from inclusive recruitment practices, what types of initiatives and support are being offered by employers, organisations and charities to help improve the employability of ex-offenders and/or reduce the stigma associated with recruiting ex-offenders?
We're making a video...
First, the background:
The Robin Corbett Award funds £10,000 each year to three charities who do the most to support ex-offenders. The Corbett Network is a coalition of 52 decision makers in major rehabilitation charities and businesses who collaborate to help people with convictions find jobs.
As one Networker, Maggie Walsh, CEO of A Fairer Chance puts it: “They need somewhere to live, a job and someone who gives a damn.” Well the RCA and Corbett Networkers do give a damn!
Why are we making the video?
The Corbett Network, in association with Nacro and Dominic Headley Associates, recently organised a conference in London to ask employers to hire people with convictions. It was a great success judging by the forest of hands which went up at the end signifying they had been persuaded. Result!
… except only in that conference room. Hence the idea to produce a video (launched in April) which we know will have a similar result to the conference but on a much larger scale.
Over the past weeks we have filmed some committed people working with ex-offenders (they also give a damn). Despite the bad publicity prisons receive in the media, there are many people in the sector doing their best to support and help ex-offenders to get their lives back on track after release. The photos show a few of those we interviewed, all with positive stories to tell.
Who will see the video?
The Corbett Network’s 53 members will send to all their contacts. So will 780 top business women on the mailing list of Lady Val’s Professional Women’s Network (a donation from each lunch booking goes towards our work) Employer organisations such as the Institute of Directors, HR professionals, Business in the Community etc as well as Youtube, Twitter and Linkedin will also receive the video link.
Recently I was a participant on a panel of a major think-tank on how to “transform the employment of ex-offenders through improved recruitment, effective training and better access to good jobs”. This will inform a major research report into ex-offender employment in early 2019. All panellists will be sent the video with a request to pass on to their contacts.
Brexit will mean thousands of vacancies so recruiting from a different talent pool is crucial. I am confident our video will persuade the companies who view it to give another chance to people who have served their sentences and are ready to re-join society.
Corbett Network Members
Dr Kameel Khan is a tax judge and lecturer at Stamford University. He is involved in prison rehab in the US, in particular an enterprise programme called Remade- which he is hoping to start in the UK with London Business School and Kings. He is also working with the MOJ on using Big Data to determine sentence length.
Faith Spear is an independent criminologist. Former Independent Monitoring Board Chairman but was dismissed for being a whistle-blower about what was happening in the prison system by IMB and Ministry of Justice. Has continued to speak out for reform and been interviewed many times on television, radio and online news sites. She supports and encourages many who have been in prison and has learned to be persistent.
The Corbett Network News