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Quadron Services and Blue Sky are pleased to announce the start of a new partnership which will see a team of ex-offenders, led by a Blue Sky supervisor, carrying out grounds maintenance in Wandsworth’s cemeteries from March 2014.
Quadron and Blue Sky already operate a successful partnership in Medway, where a team of ex-military ex-offenders are employed on Quadron’s grounds maintenance contract with the Council.
The arrangement in Wandsworth will see a team of four ex-offenders, led by an experienced Blue Sky supervisor, working full-time alongside Quadron’s existing teams to provide grounds maintenance services to Wandsworth Borough Council. The Blue Sky team will work predominantly in Wandsworth’s cemeteries carrying out duties such as mowing and e employed on Quadron’s grounds maintenance contract with the Council.
strimming and ensuring the sites are tidy. Staff can be trained on these tasks relatively quickly and so the team can become productive almost immediately. Blue Sky’s supervisor will ensure that the work specified is carried out to the required standard and also provide mentoring and support to the Blue Sky team. Blue Sky has successfully operated a similar arrangement in Ealing’s cemeteries for over six years. The supervisory team are therefore highly experienced in the types of work required and ensuring that this is carried out sensitively, with consideration for the needs of visitors.
The team will be recruited locally from the Wandsworth area and will be provided with comprehensive training before starting work, including health and safety, use of equipment and quality standards. Blue Sky ensures the full history of each employee is known and does not employ sex offenders or those with current substance reliance or anger management issues. A Blue Sky Supervisor will work alongside the team at all times. Quadron will provide each team member with a uniform and personal protective equipment (PPE) and the team will be fully integrated into the contract delivery structure so that a seamless service is provided to the client. As well as the rehabilitative benefits to the Blue Sky team, the arrangement provides both Quadron and the local authority with the chance to achieve the aims of the Social Value Act, with no additional cost to Quadron’s client, and with Blue Sky covering the employment risk.
“This will enable us to employ local ex-offenders, giving them that vital piece of self-respect that having a real job with a real wage can bring. We will also give them assistance through bespoke training and help them to find full-time employment at the end of their time with us. It is only through the support of Quadron and Wandsworth Council that this is possible, and Blue Sky looks forward to establishing a long partnershipwith them” John Chesters, Blue Sky Leave a comment
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For most jobs (all the unregulated ones), it’s up to each recruiter whether they want to ask. If disclosure is requested, we believe it should happen at a later stage in the application process to allow applicants to be judged first on their suitability for the role.
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The report published today by the Ministry of Justice’s newly created Data Laboratory shows with a 95% confidence level that ex-offenders working in Blue Sky teams re-offend 50% less than a control group with similar characteristics. The analysis focuses on those Blue Sky employees who started working with Blue Sky within 6 months of release from prison. These are challenging people to help as they face a number of barriers when re-integrating into the community and unsurprisingly are more likely to re-offend. In many of these cases Blue Sky is the only organisation these ex-offenders have engaged with – and hence this impact can be directly attributed to the work of Blue Sky.
Andrea McCubbin, COO says: ”A job is so much more than a pay packet for an ex-offender. By offering them a paid job, vocational training qualifications and support with housing we stabilise lives and help our employees to become contributing members of society – often for the first time. They start to see a life for themselves away from crime. These results represent all those individual achievements.”
In the current commissioning environment this independent research is particularly valuable. The last few weeks have seen the launch of the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation competition. Winning bidders (and their supply chains) in each of the 21 Contract Package Areas will be rewarded on a payment by results basis to reduce re-offending. This report is timely as it enables Blue Sky to independently evidence the impact of its work and negotiate a place in these supply chains. When evaluated against the current version of the MoJ’s PbR payment mechanism these results would result in the maximum payment being achieved.
Andrea comments that: ”Blue Sky has always striven to be at the forefront of impact measurement and we are delighted with the results and to be part of this initiative. We believe that raising the bar in this way will be good for the sector as a whole.”
Moving forward Blue Sky would like to see the Data Laboratory analysis become the benchmark for impact measurement in the sector but will continue to track and report on re-offending rates for all employees.Leave a comment
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