We are becoming experts at meeting Ministers, I think this week was the fourth in five years we have preached to. However Rory Stewart OBE seems to be very different to those that have gone before him, in his genuine appreciation of his staff in prisons if nothing else.Many CJS experts are saying the same about him, and if he is in post long enough, we may see some changes for the better in HMPrisons. In 35 years I have never heard a prison minister champion his staff quite like this fellow, it is a breath of fresh air which hopefully will give other senior managers in the service the confidence to replicate.
During the meeting at our offices at HMP Leeds, he asked us how he could help? Clearly he doesn’t have a money tree,nor is rehabilitation of ex-offenders a vote winner. So as with everything at Tempus Novo, we kept it real in our request and asked him to press for changes to the way funding is accessed. We told him (what i’m sure he already knows) that it is the local smaller charities that have the biggest impact and achieve the best outcomes.If he was in any doubt we backed it up with the recent independent report commissioned by Lloyds Foundation Trust:
Thanks to our ambassador Diane Banks we will be seeing him again this week, as we attend a dinner in London as guests of the think tank Bright Blue.Then the week after we have an appointment with the Minister at his offices at the MOJ, so he’ll either be sick of the sight of us, or a big fan of our work.