This page is here for archive purposes, to showcase CFO and European Social Fund (ESF) achievements between 2009 - 2015. For information on the latest ESF funded National Offender Management Service (NOMS) programme, please click here


Projects aimed at improving employability are seen as key to changing offender's lives and reducing reoffending. Since January 2010, the NOMS European Social Fund (ESF) Co-financing programme has been working with participants who would benefit from additional employment and skills provision.

The NOMS ESF Programme aims to complement existing provision, particulary the Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) in prisons as well as other existing employment and skills services.


Creating Sustainable Social Enterprises

in the Criminal Justice System

A central theme of the NOMS CFO social enterprise programme is 'sustainability'. Not just in relation to the environment or even the European Union's objectives around social inclusion and social justice, but financial sustainability.

All too often piloting and short term funding for new ideas results in eventual closure or grant dependency. The focus on enterprise is designed to explore how business (for social purpose) can be used to develop 'intervention' contexts and opportunities for offenders that can be sustained through resources generated by the business activity. This may be as a result of contracts with commissioners - possibly across sectors - or through revenue generated through trade or services.

Acumen Development Trust based in the North East delivered a pilot under the first phase of the SE programme in conjunction with HMP Low Newton. Building on some of the lessons from that experience, Acumen subsequently began to develop a much more ambitious concept based around a retail/manufacturing partnership with the prison service. Using high-end design and retail principles, the idea is to manufacture goods that can generate sufficient margins to grow the business further and ultimately provide resources for social reinvestment (and achieve a wider social impact).

The SE programme commissioned the Ideas Mine to work with Acumen and the other partners to help facilitate the development and business planning phase and to report on the issues and lessons learned - including the potential for wider impact - in order to provide a template for other such initiatives. The final report is currently being edited and prepared for publication, but to coincide with the start of some extensive work within the Consortia Building programme, a relatively self-contained chapter written by Philip Angiers on the measurement of social value and impact is available here to download.


Social Enterprise

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