The Wise Group exports mentoring expertise in new partnership

Recognised for its innovative and impactful mentoring and partnership approaches, The Wise Group is a UK Social Enterprise which has created a new opportunity to expand its skills and expertise further across the UK, under the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Dynamic Framework contracts announced today.

Creating new and exciting partnerships to provide services to those who need it most is what it does, and in a new ‘first’ it has created a formal strategic partnership with St Giles, ‘St Giles Wise’, to successfully bid for 16 Ministry of Justice contracts providing support and services to prison leavers across England and Wales. The Partnership has managed to secure the largest number of contracts within the MOJ Framework contract list, benefiting from the stability of a multi-year funding agreement.

The Wise Group currently leads a Scotland-wide Public Social Partnership ‘New Routes Mentoring’ which for the past seven years has provided thousands of prison leavers in Scotland with specialist one-to-one support through mentoring, while promoting strong partnerships between other organisations. Customers are supported by Wise Group mentors for six months before release, and again post liberation as they return to the community.

Today sees the launch of the first of the St Giles Wise partnership contracts; the third sector/social enterprise partnership has been recognised as having the potential for lasting impact and innovation in public sector services delivering positive results for the people they support.

St Giles Wise will work with local communities, statutory services, and other service providers to support the wellbeing of male and female prison leavers using Personal Wellbeing Coaches offering advocacy, advice, and guidance.

Sean Duffy, The Wise Group Chief Executive said, “At The Wise Group, we recognise mentoring as a cornerstone approach to reduce reoffending. All our partnerships supporting Justice, Employability, Energy and Wellbeing services underpin our central purpose of transforming lives. The new St Giles Wise partnership approach recognises that for large contracts like this, through strategic collaboration, we are greater than the sum of our parts.”

The national model created by the Partnership can be tailored locally and is well placed to facilitate greater involvement by other social enterprises and the third sector in the provision of services. These specific contracts will see some 96 people employed across all the new MOJ contracts with an additional 180 Volunteer Peer Advisers and Mentors who will support them whilst gaining essential mentoring or case work qualifications.

Through working with other agencies, the St Giles Wise vehicle will add real value to core services and enable prison leavers, some of whom are amongst the most socially excluded in our society, to turn a corner. Through the MOJ contracts the Partnership expects to have reached nearly 5,500 people leaving prison in the first year.

Duffy continued, “The innovative partnership approach of creating a Special Purpose Vehicle model, gives us scale and reach that would be much more difficult for either organisation in isolation.”