The final 2016 meeting of the Wellbeing and Social Enterprise National Group took place in October. The meeting had a varied agenda with two engaging speakers visiting to discuss Restorative Justice and Social Impact in Procurement.
Sarah-Jane Gay is National Groups Administrator at the National Housing Federation.
21 November 2016
Restorative Justice (RJ) is a well-known approach for improving recovery for victims and offenders. It involves a facilitated conversation between the two parties, but only in the event that the offender admits the crime. RJ allows the victim to explain the impact of the crime on them and has been found to reduce re-offending. It is now a hot topic on the justice agenda in the UK after the 2012 Victims EU Directive which recognised the great benefit that RJ can have to victims.
So why were we talking about Restorative Justice? Alan Moorhouse, Project Manager at Birmingham Social Housing Partnership came to discuss their creative application of RJ to incidents of anti-social behaviour at Midland Heart Housing Association. RJ doesn’t have to apply to crimes that have gone through court, and Midland Heart use the approach largely to settle tenant disputes about noise.
Midland Heart started their RJ scheme in 2014 in partnership with West Midlands police, and they now have 10 trained RJ co-ordinators. They talk in terms of the ‘harmed’ and the ‘harmer’, and their success rates are over 80% for both parties. Significantly, they have found there to be a 27% reduction in re-offending, as well as cost savings to the West Midlands police. RJ has proved extremely successful in promoting improved relations between individuals, leading to a reduction in complaints from tenants and more peaceful lives being gained for residents.
Procurement and social impact
We were joined by Mary-Kathryn Rallings Adams, Director of Research at HACT, who talked us through the important question of ‘how can we drive social value through the supply chain?’
Changes in the sector have left housing providers being expected to deliver more, but with less resource. Alongside this, the Social Value Act 2010 also required people who commission public services to think about how they can also secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits. The procurement budgets of housing providers are therefore a key tool in maximising value of contracts and social impact.
HACT have recently produced a Social Value and Procurement Toolkit. The aim of the toolkit is to give housing providers guidance on how to engage with social value in a legally compliant manner. It has received input from across the supply chain, giving a comprehensive insight into the most effective ways to introduce social value to procurement.
The toolkit offers housing providers the opportunity to develop clarity, consistency and transparency on social value – the value that has been, and will continue to be, at the heart of housing associations’ purpose and drive.
The next meeting of the Wellbeing and Social Enterprise group will be on 7 February 2017. Please get in touch if you have any questions.