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ANALYSING THE COMMITMENTS THE THREE MAIN PARTIES HAVE MADE FOR:

  • Justice
  • Children, Young People and Families
  • Apprenticeships and Employability
  • Education
  • National Citizen Service

JUSTICE

We called for...

  • minimum standards for Through the Gate services (employment, accommodation, finance, mental health support) to ensure prison leavers are properly supported to reintegrate into their communities,
  • contracts for probation services that incentivise innovative practice and are measured against how well they meet the needs of services users rather than just transactional processes, and
  • a commitment to publishing a revised Victims’ Code – ensuring victims’ rights and entitlements are enshrined in law.

Conservatives pledged...

  • to pass and implement a Victims’ Law that guarantees victims’ rights and the level of support they can expect.

They also pledged...

  • to recruit 20,000 new police officers,
  • to create a prisoner education service focused on work-based training and skills, and
  • to improve employment opportunities for ex-offenders including a job coach in each prison.

Labour pledged...

  • a joined-up approach, fostering close working relationships between criminal justice agencies with education authorities, health services and others by establishing violence-reduction units and ensuring vulnerable people to get the support they need by boosting public health, mental health and early years services,
  • to reunify probation and guarantee a publicly run, locally accountable probation service with valued probation staff and professional standards,
  • to further consider the evidence for effective alternatives and rehabilitation of prolific offenders, and
  • to defend the rule of law to ensure communities are safe, victims supported, and people able to defend their rights.

They also pledged...

  • to rebuild the police workforce, recruiting more officers, community support officers and staff,
  • to invest in a youth justice system in which schools, local authorities, health authorities and youth services work together to divert young people away from the pathways towards crime, and
  • to set new standards for community sentences and introduce a presumption against prison sentences of six months or less for non-violent and non-sexual offences.

Liberal Democrats pledged...

  • to transform prisons into places of rehabilitation and recovery by recruiting 2,000 more prison officers and improving the provision of training, education and work opportunities,
  • suitably timed release for all prison-leavers with support for suitable accommodation, a bank account, employment and training, and registration with a local GP,
  • improved mental health support and treatment within the criminal justice system, with continuity of mental health care and addiction treatment in prison and the community, and
  • improved and properly funded supervision of offenders in the community, with greater coordination between the prison service, probation service providers, the voluntary and private sectors and local authorities, achieving savings in the high costs of reoffending.

They also pledged...

  • to invest £1 billion to restore community policing, enough for two new police officers in every ward,
  • to reduce the number of people unnecessarily in prison, including by: introducing a presumption against short prison sentences; ending prison sentences for the possession of drugs for personal use; and increasing the use of tough community sentences and restorative justice where appropriate, and
  • to reform criminal record disclosure rules so that people do not have to declare irrelevant old and minor convictions, and remove questions about criminal convictions from initial application forms for all public-sector jobs.

CHILDREN, YOUNG PEOPLE AND FAMILIES

We called for...

  • increased investment in ‘edge of care’ services and ‘children in need’ interventions,
  • holistic family support targeted at the most vulnerable families,
  • investment in physical spaces in communities,
  • every children’s care home (whether regulated or unregulated) to be registered on a central database which is readily available to Local Authorities, and
  • the regulation of all ‘homes’ for under 18 year olds.

Conservatives pledged...

  • to improve the Troubled Families programme and champion Family Hubs to serve vulnerable families with the intensive, integrated support they need to care for children – from the early years and throughout their lives.

They also pledged...

  • to review the care system to make sure that all care placements and settings are providing children and young adults with the support they need,
  • to prioritise stable, loving placements for children – adoption where possible or foster parents recruited by the local authority, and
  • investment of £500 million in new youth clubs and services and establishment of a £150 million Community Ownership Fund to support local takeovers of community assets that are under threat.

Labour pledged...

  • to launch a wholesale review of the care system, including kinship care, considering national standards such as a central register of foster parents and regulation of semi-supported housing, to ensure we meet the needs of every child, and
  • to rebuild early intervention services and to replace the Troubled Families programme with a Stronger Families programme, refocused on long-term support to reduce the risk of children going into care.

They also pledged...

  • to protect and build on Staying Put for over-18s in care and the Adoption Support Fund, and
  • a properly funded, professionally staffed National Youth Service, with a guarantee that every young person has access to local, high-quality youth work.

Liberal Democrats pledged...

  • to invest £1 billion a year in Children’s Centres to support families and tackle inequalities in children’s health, development and life chances, and
  • to reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) by investing further in services during pregnancy and the first two years of a child’s life.

They also pledged...

  • to provide a £500 million ring-fenced youth services fund to local authorities to repair youth services and enable them to deliver a wider range of services, reach more young people and improve training for youth workers,
  • to invest in targeted support for those most at risk of poor wellbeing: vulnerable children, people who are homeless, victims of trafficking and exploitation,
  • to provide welfare support to those who need it,
  • to invest in community services that tackle loneliness and prevent isolation, and
  • to prioritise government spending for access to high-quality mental health and other health services.

APPRENTICESHIPS AND EMPLOYABILITY

We called for...

  • apprenticeship levy payers should dedicate at least half of their levy expenditure to under-30s,
  • any unspent apprenticeship levies ring-fenced to youth employment services,
  • the apprenticeship minimum wage should be increased to the living wage, to improve take up, and
  • incentives for employers to take on underserved groups.

Conservatives pledged...

  • to look at how we can improve the working of the Apprenticeship Levy, and
  • to reduce National Insurance contributions for employers if they employ ex-Service personnel.

They also pledged...

  • to invest at least £90 million through the Youth Futures Foundation to improve employment outcomes for young people.

Labour pledged…

  • to bring in a Real Living Wage of at least £10 per hour for all workers aged 16 and over – with equal rights from day one on the job – and use savings to public finances to help small businesses manage the extra cost, and
  • to make targeted bursaries available to women, BAME people, care leavers, ex-armed forces personnel and people with disabilities to encourage them to take up climate apprenticeships.

They also pledged...

  • to reform existing careers advice, working towards an integrated information, advice and guidance system that covers the entire National Education System,
  • to make it easier for employers to spend the Apprenticeship Levy by allowing it to be used for a wider range of accredited training, and
  • to increase the amount that can be transferred to non-[Apprenticeship]-levy-paying employers by 50% and introduce an online matching service to help levy-paying businesses find smaller businesses to transfer their funds to.

Liberal Democrats pledged...

  • to establish an independent review to consult on how to set a genuine Living Wage across all sectors.

They also pledged...

  • to expand the apprenticeship levy into a wider ‘Skills and Training Levy’ to help prepare the UK’s workforce for the economic challenges ahead with 25% of the funds raised by the levy going into a ‘Social Mobility Fund’ targeted at areas with the greatest skill needs, and
  • to introduce new Skills Wallets for every adult in England, giving them £10,000 to spend on education and training throughout their lives.

EDUCATION

We called for...

  • alternative provision schools judged against broader criteria, rather than on academic results,
  • capital funding allocated directly to schools (rather than local authorities) to support vulnerable pupils early, and
  • longer contracts (10 year minimum) should be issued for services to allow Alternative Provision providers to make longer term investment plans and secure appropriate accommodation.

Conservatives pledged...

  • to increase funding for schools by £14 billion, and
  • to ensure every school is a great school, including the expansion of alternative provision schools for those who have been excluded.

Labour pledged...

  • to transfer budget and day-to-day decisions back to schools, overseen by an accountable governing body with elected representatives,
  • to make sure schools are properly resourced with increased long-term funding, while introducing a fairer funding formula that leaves no child worse off, and
  • to properly regulate all education providers and reform alternative provision to ensure an excellent education is the right of every child, and improve the outcomes and life changes of some of the most vulnerable children in society.

They also pledged...

  • to replace Ofsted and transfer responsibility to a new body, designed to drive school improvement, and
  • to take action to end ‘off-rolling’, by removing incentives for schools to let pupils fall out of the system and making schools accountable for the outcomes of pupils who leave their rolls.

Liberal Democrats pledged...

  • to reverse cuts to school funding, allowing schools to employ an extra 20,000 teachers and reduce class sizes,
  • to ensure England’s education system delivers high academic standards while also helping children grow into happy, healthy and confident adults, nurturing and valuing all styles of learning, and
  • to replace Ofsted with a new HM Inspector of Schools, with inspections taking place every three years and considering a broader range of factors including the social and emotional development of children, and the wellbeing of staff and pupils.

NATIONAL CITIZEN SERVICE

We called for...

  • all school children to be made aware of the National Citizen Service through school engagement programmes, and
  • greater transparency on the cost benefit of NCS programmes.

Conservatives pledged...

  • to back the National Citizen Service and promote it in schools as a way of bringing communities together.