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‘Personalisation’: Is social innovation possible under transforming rehabilitation?

Fox, C and Marsh, C (2016) ‘Personalisation’: Is social innovation possible under transforming rehabilitation? Probation Journal, 63 (2). pp. 169-181. ISSN 0264-5505


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© The Author(s) 2016.When the Coalition government’s ‘rehabilitation revolution’ was first articulated, innovation was an important theme, encompassing innovation by frontline staff, by organisations working within a mixed economy and even social entrepreneurs. Under Transforming Rehabilitation, innovation remained a stated aim of criminal justice reform, but the scope of innovation envisaged seemed to narrow. This paper describes the early stages of a socially innovative project to develop and implement a personalised approach to offender rehabilitation in the context of Transforming Rehabilitation. It draws on the concept of ‘desistance’. This in turn leads to consideration of community capacity-building and market development that draws on experience from the social care sector. A number of early challenges and plans to overcome them are discussed. Challenges include the inherent uncertainty of the innovation process; the importance of collaborating with a wide range of stakeholders, including service users and local community organisations; innovating during a period of organisational change and wider public sector cuts; and the public presentation of personalised working with offenders. Plans to address these challenges include moving gradually from small-scale prototyping to larger pilots and close collaboration between service providers and evaluators.

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