Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Co

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Co's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Co is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Bronwen Elphick, CEO
Doing the right thing
Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Company
was formed as a result of the government’s Transforming
Rehabilitation reforms of the probation service in 2015,
whereby around half of probation delivery was privatised.
There are 21 CRCs nationally with a total of eight parent
organisations who own the 21 CRCs between them. It is
the only CRC owned by ARCC – Achieving Real Change in
Communities – a consortia of nine local partners. ARCC is a
community-interest company with a not-for-profit ethos, where
despite being a shareholding body, all partners have agreed
that any monies made from the CRC contract with the Ministry
of Justice are reinvested back into service development. CEO
Bronwen Elphick elaborates.
ARCC is the only partnership of its kind in the CRC landscape and the only one
within a now private sector to have a not-for-profit stance. ARCC comprises three
local authorities (Stockton, Darlington and Redcar and Cleveland), a mental health
trust, private social philanthropist the Vardy Foundation, young people’s charity
Safe in Tees Valley, the Wise Group (a mentoring, education and training charity),
Thirteen Housing and a CRC staff mutual. As such, this means the staff group from
the CRC have a direct seat on the board and therefore a say in the overarching
running of the CRC. This is unique to us.
»CEO: Bronwen Elphick
»Established in 2015
»Based in Durham and
Teesside, covering Durham,
Darlington and the Tees Valley
»Services: Rehabilitation and
probation services for around
4,000 medium and low risk of
harm offenders
»No. of employees: 180
Durham Tees Valley
Community Rehabilitation
Highlighting best practice
Supporting our participants
We pride ourselves on doing the right
thing in supporting our offenders
and service users to reduce their
offending behaviour, and we base
our delivery model upon academic
research around desistance from
crime. We are responsible for
supervising around 4,000 low and
medium-risk participants and we
use the terminology “participant”
to reflect our approach, in that we
expect offenders to participate in
their sentence, as it is ultimately their
responsibility to cease offending.
We employ a strengths-based
model using desistance theory
whereby the majority of face-to-face
supervision happens in a variety of
These venues include church halls,
community centres, Salvation Army
premises, a fire station, CAB offices
and recreation centres, and we rent
the space for the duration of time
we require. Our delivery model was
written by our staff, which is also a
unique factor in the CRC world.
Taking supervision into the heart of
our local communities removes the
stigma from reporting to a more
traditional probation office. Our
more informal settings inside our
community hubs not only enable
attendance by people in their
locality, but allow for the mixing of
offenders and other public groups
as “normal”. For example, we have
had a local women’s gardening
group assisting our unpaid work
participants with growing vegetables
at one of our project placement
sites, as they wanted to pass on their
knowledge and skills. This also helps
to break down public perceptions
around offenders when people are
encouraged to interactsocially.
Alongside the routine sentencing
requirements available, we also run a
programme of social action whereby
our participants “make good by giving
back”. We run a monthly lunch club
from a local fire station, where four
or five participants work with staff
to produce a two-course meal from
scratch – some of them have never
even chopped an onion before. They
learn basic cookery, hygiene and
teamwork skills. They are able to gain
qualifications in hygiene and food
preparation and are also tasked with
serving the meals and working front of
house. The lunch club is open to the
public and is usually attended by 40
people, who pay £3 per meal, which
subsidises the cost of the food. We
are contractually required to run an
offender satisfaction survey annually,
and we have been top and second in
the last two years out of all 21 CRCs –
so we must be getting itright.
We also pride ourselves on treating
our staff well and have spent time
supporting the cultural transition
from being a public sector service to a
service that operates within a private,
commercial landscape, but which has
retained much of its public service
ethos about “doing the right thing”.
Most major initiatives have been staff
led – creating our values and vision,
our ICT case management system, our
organisational change programme
have all been led by staff, not the
Over 80,000 hours of
unpaid work completed
during last 12 months
Our delivery
model was
written by our
staff, which is
also a unique
factor in the
CRC world
executive team. We have high staff
morale, recently secured the “one to
watch” category in the
Sunday Times
b-Heard survey of the best companies
to work for and have attained the IIP
sliver award. We are also a disability-
confident, living wage and Ban the Box
employer. We were also the first CRC
to achieve the ISO 27001 information
security accreditation around how we
manage our data.
Delivering despite obstacles
Our development has not been
without challenges. The Transforming
Rehabilitation reforms were new for
the Ministry of Justice and were a
huge change in probation delivery.
There have been issues with the
contracts, which have made the
national news, and there has been
a lot of media negativity associated
with the privatisation element of the
service. As a lone and small voice, in
among some multinational, corporate
organisations, sometimes it has been
difficult to influence the industry.
The recent probation consultation,
however, reflects a lot of our model,
which is cited as good practice and an
approach the ministry hopes to see
more of.
Delivering probation services is in itself
a challenge as not everybody wishes
to change their life. Offending for
some provides them with more than
“going straight” would, so staff are
professionally trained; it takes two
years to become a probation officer,
and our staff are highly skilled in
managing difficult and vulnerable
people. While the CRCs ethos is to
“do the right thing”, and with a not-
for-profit stance, we are delivering a
commercially based contract where
income is affected by performance and
results. We have a suite of measures
to meet, mainly centred on positive
sentence completions, and we can
be financially penalised for poor
performance. Our staff understand
that if we do not make any money,
or if we suffer financial penalties
because of poor performance, then
we have less money to invest in service
delivery. Fortunately, our performance
has been consistently high and we
have reinvested £500,000 in the last
We have been described by the Justice
Select Committee as an “outlier”,
and we have a good reputation for
our approach and flexibility within the
CRC landscape and with the Ministry
of Justice. We are known for our
commitment to changing people’s lives
and for looking after our employees.
Our participant feedback tells us we
are treating them well and compliance
levels are high. Our biggest challenge
will be to win the second round of
contracts in 2020, but I believe we are
well placed.
We have been
described by the
Justice Select
Committee as an
“outlier”, and
we have a good
reputation for
our approach
and flexibility
within the CRC
landscape and
with the Ministry
of Justice
Our approach


This article was sponsored by Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Co. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister