Justice Social Work Service
In 2021 Scottish Borders Council’s Justice Social Work Service awarded Works+ the contract to carry out Employability Support for clients who have been involved in the justice system.
Now in its third year, this service offers a unique person-centred approach to gaining and sustaining employment. We aspire to allow individuals to gain experience and skills, and pursue a positive destination, through focused support.
Works+ provides emotional and practical support, allowing service users to build confidence, motivation and routine. Many of our clients have successfully progressed into employment, training, volunteering or further education.
We actively seek to collaborate with many local agencies in sourcing support for our clients who may be experiencing barriers such as poor mental health, addiction and homelessness.
The Employability Service enables service users to actively look to the future, make positive changes in their lives, and reduce the chance of reoffending in the future.
This year we have had 63 service users referred and worked with a total of 39 people, of which 12 have gained full/part-time employment, 3 went on to carry out volunteering opportunities and 2 returned to further education.
“Commissioned July 2021 for 1 year, the recent extension to the contract between Justice Social Work
Services and Works+ is a testament to the high level of person-centred and outcome-focused
delivery, demonstrated by the partnership. To say that this is an employment programme is to fail to
recognise the depth and breadth of the service provided, to a group of individuals often marginalised
by society. By overcoming barriers including mental and physical health conditions, addictions and
literacy and numeracy challenges, often intensified by experiences in the justice system, Works+ has
assisted those who have engaged with the service to achieve positive outcomes. Positive journeys for
those who have engaged, include not only employment, volunteering and college placements but
also links to improved wellbeing, self-motivation and confidence building.
I welcome the development of links between Works+ and the Reconnect Women’s Service. The
facilitation of a bespoke service for women can only further enhance employment and training
pathway opportunities. Moving forward, I look forward to continuing the services partnership with
Kim McPartland – Service Manager.
David (not his real name) came to Works+ after serving a 9-month prison sentence. He had
experienced a difficult upbringing suffering both mental and physical abuse which led to severe mental
health problems compounded by heavy alcohol consumption, used to numb the pain and the underlying
PTSD he was experiencing. He was able to stop drinking but was still isolated and found it hard to
socialise and make new friends.
When we first met David, he was reserved, conversations were difficult, and it took a long time to build a trusting relationship. David told staff “I would much rather be in prison; it gave me security and a sense of belonging.” David was a cleaner in prison and enjoyed his role. He had started cleaning at a young age when he watched his mum struggle to work and cope with housework. He would clean the house for her coming home so she would not feel overwhelmed after a hard shift at work.
The more David attended Works+ the more he started to open up and trust staff. He always attended
appointments and enjoyed chatting about his life and how things were much better since he had stopped
drinking. He needed help with a few different issues as he didn’t know how to use email and he was
unaware that he could claim any benefits.
Works+ helped David overcome some of these barriers, offering support and guidance and at the same
time providing support with compiling a CV so he had the tools he needed to apply for jobs.
Every week he would come in and complete application forms and soon secured a couple of unsuccessful interviews. Staff continued to work on interview techniques and confidence-building exercises which was bolstered by support from Community Learning and Development through which David embarked on a personal development programme.
Through this work, David has become more open, and honest and feels safe and supported within the
David had an interview recently and felt confident in the new skills he had been developing and made a
great impression and was overjoyed when he was offered a job. Three weeks into his new role David has already been promoted to Supervisor.
He is also volunteering, getting out and meeting new people and has a much more positive attitude
towards his future. David is still in regular contact with Works+ and knows we are here should he need us in the future.
“I really liked coming to see the ladies at the Focus Centre they helped me a lot with my
mental health, just having someone to talk to was good. They also got me a volunteering
role, which I am enjoying as it gets me out of the house and has focused me on learning other things
being outdoors and around new people is a big help with my mental health, so thank you both I am