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May 6th 2021

A warm welcome to Multiple Disadvantage Matters, the fortnightly newsletter from the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) coalition.

Welcome to new members of the MEAM team

We are pleased to welcome some new faces to the MEAM team in recent weeks. Carl Brown joins as Partnerships Manager for the Midlands, Octavia Aronne as Partnerships Manager for London and the South East and Anthony Pickup as our Involvement and Inclusion Manager. Jacob Foreman joins as our new Policy and Engagement Manager on secondment from MHCLG and Sue Christoforou from Homeless Link will be working as part of our embedded policy team.
Latest policy news

High court ruling: offering accommodation to street homeless people during the pandemic

On 11 March, the High Court ruled in the case of Ncube v Brighton and Hove City Council that councils can lawfully provide accommodation to street homeless people during the pandemic, even when they are not eligible for Part 7 homelessness assistance. Shelter have now published a briefing on the ruling and its implications for local and central government policy.

Sobriety tags launched in England

The Ministry of Justice has announced the launch of sobriety tags aimed at reducing alcohol-related crimes in England, following a similar roll-out in Wales. People who commit alcohol-related crimes could be ordered to wear a tag and face court sentences or a fine if caught breaching a ban. More than 100 people have been tagged since the scheme launched in Wales in October, and the Ministry of Justice says that it has proven effective, with people staying sober on over 95% of days monitored.

New Home Office guidance for non-UK nationals who are rough sleeping

The Home Office has published new guidance on considering refusing or cancelling permission to stay in the UK on the grounds of rough sleeping. There is concern within the homelessness sector that the new guidance could prevent people engaging with the support they need and lead to fear and mistrust. Statements from Homeless Link and St Mungo's have called for an urgent review of the guidance 

Government's funding for substance misuse

Clinks has published a blog exploring the government’s recent funding announcements relating to substance misuse. The blog breaks down £148million of new investment announced by the Home Office, the Department for Health and Social Care and the Prime Minister’s Office to fund substance misuse services and reduce reoffending, taking a ‘system-wide approach’. Collective Voice has also published a statement on the recent announcements and MEAM has discussed the implications for government policy on multiple disadvantage.

An analysis of the government's Female Offender Strategy

The Prison Reform Trust has published analysis which shows that the government has met less than half of the commitments identified in the Female Offender Strategy. Of 65 deliverables within the 2018 strategy, 31 have been fully achieved, 20 partially achieved, and there has been no progress or measurable implementation of 14.

Trying to Connect: the importance of choice in remote mental health services

Mind has published a new report looking at people’s experiences of accessing mental health treatment via phone or online during the pandemic. The report aims to ensure that everyone can access the mental health support they need and deserve and calls on Government to ensure that people are offered a choice of treatments – including face-to-face - so that they can choose the options that best suit them.

Set up to fail: the challenging cycle of prison release

The Fulfilling Lives National Communications Group has launched a new campaign Set up to fail: the challenging cycle of prison release. The campaign focuses on the transition from prison back to the community noting that appropriate support is not in place for many of the people the Fulfilling Lives Programme seeks to support. An interactive video has been produced to support the campaign.

The future of the probation service

The House of Commons Select Committee on Justice has published a new report on its inquiry into the future of probation services in England and Wales. The report acknowledges that services have undergone major upheaval in the past seven years and subsequent changes must be fully thought through, properly funded and expected to remain in place for a period of decades rather than years. Russell Webster has published a useful blog on the key messages from the report including limits on caseloads. 
Learning Opportunities

Improving service transitions: prison release

The Fulfilling Lives national evaluation team led by University of Sheffield and CFE Research are hosting a webinar to launch their upcoming report Improving service transitions for people experiencing multiple disadvantage: Prison release. The team will share findings from their recent study exploring the experience of prison release for people affected by multiple forms of disadvantage and how this transition might be improved. The webinar is on 10th June, 10-12noon. 

Commonweal Housing: call for housing-based project partners

Commonweal Housing has opened a new call for ideas to find their next housing-based project to support. They want to hear from charitable organisations with new housing solutions to identifiable social injustices, who are looking to develop these ideas in partnership. 

Understanding the RECONNECT: Care after custody service

Clinks are hosting a webinar to understand more about the RECONNECT: care after custody service. RECONNECT is an NHS England and NHS Improvement service that starts working with people before they leave prison, providing access to a RECONNECT worker, and support to make the transition to community-based services that can provide the health and social care support that people need. The webinar is on 9th June, 10-12 noon. 
Keeping you up to date at this time
Our priority in this difficult period remains people facing multiple disadvantage and the people who support them. If you have any questions, comments or issues you would like to raise, please contact any member of the MEAM team.  

Multiple Disadvantage Matters will keep you up to date with key policy developments affecting people facing multiple disadvantage. Please forward this email to colleagues, who can subscribe here for future editions.

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