The Civil Service Local Communication and Engagement Network meets quarterly to share good practice and ideas. Meetings take place in different civil service venues to help members to understand the aims and work of each other’s departments. The last meeting included a ‘Go and See’ event kindly hosted by network member Nicola Welsh at HM Prison Service (HMP), Frankland in Durham.
The meeting held in the staff development centre began with a presentation by Vanessa Sexton a Business Connector from Business in the Community.
Vanessa is on secondment from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and is passionate about the work that is taking place in the community and the benefits gained through volunteering.
This was followed by a discussion about the best way to communicate across the group. I’m sure you’ll realise how complex this is given we are from 10 different government departments.
Nicola delivered a short presentation on the vision and aims of the prison service. We then went through the very thorough entry procedure to the Industries Workshops inside the prison itself. We were given an extensive tour of the workshops by the Industries Manager Neil McNally. This was very insightful and made the group realise the hidden success of the work carried out here. It is clearly challenging running such a venture within the confines of a high security prison but it was obvious that the staff were dedicated to making the workshops a successful business and at the same time rehabilitating the prisoners. What came across clearly is how well taught and skilled the prisoners were – the furniture was very well made and anyone would be proud to have produced items of such quality. The skills learned in the workshops will be extremely useful for prisoners to take with them on their release.
Many thanks to Nicola and all of the staff we came into contact with. You should be proud of what you are achieving.
If you would like to join the network please contact Anna Bradley