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Home   Dartford   News   Article

Ex-offenders given jobs at Bluewater to reduce the number of criminals re-offending once out of jail

22 January 2014
by Thom Morris

The idea came out of a Gravesham council committee meeting and Bluewater management agreed to employ ex-offenders after discussions with the community safety unit.

At a meeting tomorrow, councillors are expected to hear an update on how the scheme is progressing.

Bluewater

Bluewater shopping centre in Greenhithe

The report before councillors states: "The CSU have made good advances in joint working with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Jobcentre Plus to consider how best to support ex-offenders in developing their skills and improving their employment prospects.

"This has included an agreement by Bluewater to employ ex-offenders and acknowledgement that they have done so, particularly in relation to horticultural work in and around the shopping centre's site."

"We have been fortunate to be able to play some part in the development of initiatives that are based within and effectively 'run' by members of our local communities rather that completely managed and delivered by statutory agencies..." - council report

It adds the centre has a "focus on the personality of individuals when considering applicants for vacancies".

The Bluewater Learning Shop offers support and assistance to ex-offenders with job application forms and CVs, ensuring that their personality profile and enthusiasm for the job is made clear.

It is said that these factors will be able, in certain cases, to outweigh formal qualifications or previous experience requirements and spent convictions.

People being released from prison will transfer to the Work Programme in order that the ex-offender can be given assistance in identifying opportunities available to them and address any skills shortages - for instance basic literacy and numeracy.

The latest statistics, from an analysis of 1,781 offenders in Dartford and Gravesham between October 2011 and September 2012, show that 8.2% of offenders re-offended.

The report, which also looks at increased information sharing between agencies and community payback help with local groups, concluded: "In Gravesham, we have been fortunate to be able to play some part in the development of initiatives that are based within and effectively 'run' by members of our local communities rather that completely managed and delivered by statutory agencies."

Bluewater refused to comment.

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