Thursday, 23 April 2009

Leeds conference looks at intensive case management of prisoners to tackle re-offending

A conference in Leeds next week will look at how the use of special cross-disciplinary teams to individually case manage prisoners can reduce re-offending.

The conference will bring together prison staff, health service and police staff, probation officers, voluntary, community and faith organisations and youth offending service workers.

The new approach, known as Integrated Offender Management (IOM), involves understanding which external factors, such as drugs, housing, family problems, health or employment increase the likelihood of an individual committing crime.

This makes it possible to bring together relevant agencies (such as Jobcentre Plus, NHS, Housing) to work intensively with the offender to help prevent re-offending.

The conference, which will be held on 30 April 2009 at the Thackray Medical Museum, will be looking at the use of IOM with prisoners both in custody and on release.

Councillor Les Carter, executive board member responsible for community safety, and chair of Safer Leeds said:
“Offender management in Leeds has been operating across many partner agencies for over a year now. The proposal to further integrate work with prisoners during their custodial period can only improve the process and should help to reduce their likelihood of reoffending upon their eventual release..”

West Yorkshire is one of six national pioneers of IOM, demonstrating how this new approach can improve the way organisations within the criminal justice service work together and with other partners to make communities safer. The Drugs and Offender Management Unit of West Yorkshire Police is responsible for driving the programme, through the work of specialist staff linked to the key partner organisations.

Louise Gartland, (Head of Partnerships, Drugs and Offender Management Unit, West Yorkshire Police) said:
“Prison staff welcome this additional support from community based organisations in Leeds. The multi-agency approach and sharing of information is helping them to ensure that prisoners have the best possible chance of avoiding reoffending when they are released.”

• Safer Leeds is the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) dedicated to tacking drugs and crime in the city. It is a partnership organisation between a number of local agencies including Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police, NHS Leeds, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and West Yorkshire Police Authority.

[23 April 2009]

For further information contact:
John Donegan
(0113) 247 4450 (moon-wed am) (0113) 395 1510 (wed pm-fir)

Leeds - The Housing City: On target for better, decent homes in east and north east Leeds

A key target in the multi-million pound effort to improve council housing in part of Leeds has been reached by East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL).

At the end of March 2009 ENEHL has achieved its challenging target of ensuring 85% of council homes that it manages have been modernised and meet the government’s ‘Decency Standard’.

One of the three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) charged with managing and maintaining council housing in Leeds on behalf of Leeds City Council, ENEHL is on track to meet the government’s deadline for all council housing stock to meet the Decency Standard by 2010. The remaining 15% that still need some work done will be completed over the next two years and all homes will then meet the standard.

The improvement work includes the installation of a new kitchen or bathroom, windows and doors, re-wiring, plastering and decoration. Thanks to close partnership work between council tenants and contractors, people are fully involved at each stage and have real input into how the improvements make their home look and feel.

Mrs Elsie Daude has just had a new kitchen installed in her council home in Seacroft. She said:
“This has been my home for over 30 years and the kitchen had been in since the 1950s so was really dated with a wooden draining board.
“When East North East Homes Leeds came to put the new kitchen in, they talked me through what was going to happen and helped me choose what it was going to look like and if I needed anything they were happy to help.
“Before I didn't have much room, now I've got the surfaces to cook and prepare my favourite food.
“Getting the new kitchen was quite stressful but the workmen listened to me and worked around my needs, I can’t fault them at all and it’s made such a difference to my well-being.”

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member responsible for housing, said:
“Providing decent homes for the council tenants of Leeds has been one of this council’s top priorities and the sheer amount of investment we have made shows that we are taking it seriously.
“By 2011, the amount spent on bringing homes up to the Decency Standard in Leeds will total more than £720million. When including our major PFI housing schemes in Swarcliffe, Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck, this total reaches almost £1billion.
“Despite decades of under-investment in the city’s council housing, we are on target to reach the standard within the next two years.
“Improving people’s homes can make a major impact on their lives and we are committed to maintaining the city’s council housing at the highest standard possible.”

Angelena Fixter, Chair of the East North East Homes Leeds Board said:
“Meeting the Decency target is a true reflection of the hardworking, successful partnership between us and our contractors, together we insure that we provide decent homes for our residents to live in. Well done to all concerned”.

Notes for editors:

East North East Homes Leeds is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) which manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. It is wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents.

East North East Homes Leeds manages 19,000 council-owned residential properties in Boston Spa, Burmantofts, Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Collingham, Gipton, Halton Moor, Harehills, Linton, Meanwood, Moor Allerton, Moortown, Seacroft, and Wetherby.

Leeds: The Housing City is a campaign highlighting Leeds City Council’s commitment to providing affordable housing for the people of Leeds. Last week, council leaders publicly declared that housing was the number one priority for the city in increasingly dire economic times. The campaign will raise awareness of the good work that is now going on in the face of economic crisis – the very time that people need help. Bold new measures designed to encourage developers to continue building homes, pumping millions into existing schemes and providing new ways to tackle council housing waiting lists were announced

For media enquiries, please contact;
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937